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Pirlo explains decision to start Ronaldo on bench for Juventus’ win against Lazio

The Italian head coach raised more than a few eyebrows by naming the five-time Ballon d’Or winner among his substitutes

Andrea Pirlo has explained his decision to start Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for Juventus‘ win against Lazio on Saturday.

Juve ran out 3-1 winners at the Allianz Stadium thanks to an Alvaro Morata double and Adrien Rabiot goal to move back to within seven points of Serie A leaders Inter.

The competition’s top scorer only made a twenty-minute cameo appearance as a substitute, with Pirlo claiming that Ronaldo agreed to take a rest after leading the line for so many games in a row.

The Juve boss told a post-match press conference: “It came from eight or nine consecutive games, we reached an agreement during the week. It was already scheduled.

“Cristiano is an added value, the boys have done what they had to do. Cristiano has already scored 20 goals, it was normal that they also scored the others.

“When you give the ball to him something can always happen and often you start 1-0 up. He is fine. 

“This rest was agreed during the week because he had played so many consecutive games and needed to rest.”

Despite turning the ripe old age of 36 last month, Ronaldo has shown no signs of slowing down while spearheading Juve’s latest bid for silverware across multiple fronts.

The Portuguese superstar has hit 27 goals in 31 games for the club across all competitions this term, including 20 in Serie A and four in the Champions League.

Ronaldo will be fully fit and raring to go again when Juve play host to Porto in the second leg of their round of 16 Champions League tie on Tuesday night.Article continues below

The Bianconeri will need the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to be at his best as they bid to overturn a 2-1 aggregate deficit, with Pirlo well aware of the importance of progressing in Europe’s elite competition.

“Will Porto come here to park the bus? I don’t know,” he added. “Whether you park it or not, we will have to move it to them because we have to win this match. We can’t go wrong on Tuesday.”


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