My relationship with Ronaldo is good – Sarri

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Maurizio Sarri says he has no problems with Cristiano Ronaldo
Maurizio Sarri says he had no problems with Cristiano Ronaldo

Maurizio Sarri says his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo “is good” as Juventus prepare to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

Juve boss Sarri, who took off Ronaldo, 34, in consecutive games before the international break, is unsure if the forward will be fit to face Atletico.

“If a player who has won so much is angry about being substituted, he still has a lot of motivation,” said Sarri.

Juventus have already qualified for the Champions League knockout stages.

Ronaldo was substituted by Sarri in the 1-0 win over AC Milan in Serie A, plus the Champions League victory away to Lokomotiv Moscow which sealed their place in the last 16 of the competition.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner played the full 90 minutes and scored his 99th goal for Portugal while on international duty in a 2-0 win over Luxembourg that sealed his country’s place at Euro 2020.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been substituted in two consecutive games
Cristiano Ronaldo has been substituted in two consecutive games

Ronaldo also scored a hat-trick and lasted 83 minutes in Portugal’s 6-0 thrashing of Lithuania three days earlier.

The Portugal captain was rested due to a knee problem on his return on Saturday as Juventus beat Atalanta 3-1 to maintain their place at the top of the Italian league.

“Cristiano trained with his team-mates [on Sunday],” said Sarri.

“It seems that his condition is improving but we still have to evaluate.

“The positive thing is he was able to play throughout the training session.”

Sarri also said Juventus need to check on the fitness of Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt, who suffered a dislocated shoulder and forward Federico Bernardeschi, who bruised his chest before the game with Atlético .

Juventus are three points ahead of second-placed Atlético Madrid in Group D with two games to spare and victory over Diego Simeone’s side would ensure they top the group.

Atlético need a victory at the Allianz Stadium to guarantee their place alongside Juventus in the knockout stages.

Match stats

  • Juventus have only picked up one victory in their five Champions League meetings with Atlético Madrid (W1 D2 L2), winning 3-0 at Allianz Stadium in the last 16 in 2018-19.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 25 goals versus Atlético Madrid in all competitions – only against Sevilla (27) has he netted more. The Portuguese has bagged four hat-tricks against Atletico, with two of those arriving in the Champions League (March 2019 & May 2017).
  • Atlético Madrid have registered just three wins in their 10 previous encounters with Juventus in all competitions (W3 D2 L5), with four of those five defeats coming in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and the other arriving in the Champions League (0-3 in March 2019).
  • Atlético Madrid have lost only once in their nine matches against Italian teams in the Champions League (W5 D3 L1), keeping six clean sheets in the process.
  • Juventus have won 14 and lost one of their last 23 Champions League group game on home soil (D8). ‘The Old Lady’ are looking to win four consecutive home group games (all group formats) for the first time since October 2008 (12 wins).
  • Atlético Madrid have won just two of their last 11 away Champions League games (W2 D5 L4), losing last time out against Bayer Leverkusen.
  • Juventus have had eight different scorers in this season’s Champions League – already twice as many as they had last season, when they reached the quarter-final.
  • Atlético Madrid haven’t lost consecutive Champions League group stage matches since October 2009, being beaten by Porto and Chelsea under manager Abel Resino.
  • Atlético Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak has kept 24 clean sheets in his 46 Champions League appearances. Should he keep a clean sheet in this match, he would be the second-fastest goalkeeper to 25 clean sheets in the competition behind former AC Milan ‘keeper Dida (45 appearances).