After bearing the brunt of being substituted for the second match in a week, Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly left the Allianz Stadium before the final whistle of Juventus’ 1-0 Serie A win over AC Milan on Sunday.
Ronaldo was taken off in place of Paulo Dybala on 55 minutes, with the Argentine striker going on to score the winning goal 22 minutes later, to keep Juventus top in Serie A ahead of Inter Milan – with only one point separating the two sides.
The 33-year-old former Real Madrid star, who joined The Old Lady in a high-profile $129 million (about R1.9 billion) transfer in July last year, looked glum as he went off directing some words at coach Maurizio Sarri, before heading into the changing rooms.
Sky Sport Italia reported that the 34-year-old left the stadium three minutes before the end of the match. Sarri said in an interview that he did not know whether Ronaldo had left the stadium early. “If it’s true that he left before the end it is a problem to be resolved with his teammates,” said Sarri.
“I have no problem with Cristiano; he should be thanked because he made himself available despite not being in the best condition. In the last month, he has had discomfort in his knee and this is a little problem for him,” added Sarri in defence of the Portuguese forward.
Anger issues or player preference
Ronaldo had also reacted furiously after being substituted in his team’s 2-1 win against Lokomotiv Moscow midweek, which saw Juventus advance to the Champions League last 16. “The important thing is that he made himself available. If he gets angry when he comes out it is simply part of the game,” continued the Juve coach.
“It’s only natural that a player is going to be irritated about leaving the pitch, especially when he worked so hard to be there. All players who are trying to give their best will have at least five minutes of being annoyed when they are substituted, but a coach would in general, be much more worried if he didn’t seem upset.”
Ronaldo admitted recently that he would only play in important games for the Serie A giants and his home country of Portugal given an option. Juve next plays Atalanta in the Serie A on November 23, before welcoming Atlético Madrid for a fifth-round Champions League match-up in Turin three days later.