Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has insisted that the decision to bench Cristiano Ronaldo for his side’s meeting with Udinese on Sunday was his and his alone, despite reports suggesting the Portugal international wanted to be left out.
Shortly after the team news broke, it was claimed that Ronaldo had personally requested to start on the bench as he hopes to leave the club before the end of the transfer window and was keen to preserve his fitness.
Unsurprisingly, that was all anyone wanted to talk about after the game, but Allegri was not interested in humouring the story and did his best to try and calm things down.
“Ronaldo is feeling well. I had talked to him before the game, telling him he would start on the bench,” Allegri told DAZN (via Sky Sports News). “He made himself available, he did well when he entered the pitch.”
Vice-president Pavel Nedved was also given the chance to speak on the situation, and the former winger was adamant that Ronaldo was happy at the club and would not be sold.
“We mustn’t try to create sensational stories where there aren’t any,” Nedved added. “It was a decision shared with the player. At the start of the season, naturally he is not at top fitness. The coach is trying to use the best lineup at this moment.
“I can absolutely confirm Ronaldo will remain at Juventus this season.”
Despite this defiant stance from Juventus, rumours about Ronaldo’s future will continue to swirl. The 36-year-old, who has 12 months remaining on his contract, is understood to be unsettled in Turin and looking for a new home.
The main issue with that is the lack of viable options for Ronaldo. Real Madrid have publicly ruled themselves out of the race, while Paris Saint-Germain aren’t going to sign him after bringing in Lionel Messi.
A return to England has been touted, but even then there are problems. Manchester United have always done their utmost to distance themselves from Ronaldo, while Manchester City are laser-focused on Tottenham’s Harry Kane.