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Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo 'fired up' and ready to go in the Champions League after timely rest call at Juventus

15:23 GMT 08/03/2021
Cristiano Ronaldo Verona Juventus
Bianconeri boss Andrea Pirlo is ready to unleash his Portuguese superstar on Porto as a quarter-final spot in European competition is chased down

Andrea Pirlo says Cristiano Ronaldo is “fired up” and ready to go ahead of Juventus’ crunch Champions League clash with Porto.

The five-time Ballon d’Or was handed a timely rest by the Bianconeri on Saturday as they saw off Lazio 3-1 in Serie A, with Alvaro Morata bagging a brace that allowed an illustrious colleague to see just 21 minutes of game time off the bench.

That cameo appearance has helped Ronaldo to keep ticking over, with an all-time great readying himself for another outing on the kind of stage that he usually dazzles on – with Juve needing inspiration from somewhere as they seek to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit.

What has been said?

Pirlo told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s last-16 encounter in Turin: “Cristiano Ronaldo is fine, these are his matches. He's fired up, he's been able to rest and can't wait.”

Who else is in contention to figure for Juve?

The Serie A champions have been nursing a number of niggling knocks over recent weeks, but vital experience is set to be at their disposal against Porto.

Pirlo added when asked for a fitness update: “[Giorgio] Chiellini trained with the group today, he feels good and I think he can be available for tomorrow's game.

“[Matthijs] De Ligt has worked with the group today just in terms of warm-up, then he did an individual training session.

“Arthur is not at 100% but he could start tomorrow, we are hoping that he can last a while. 

“[Federico] Bernardeschi is fine and he has the possibilities to play from the start like the others but tomorrow morning I'll decide.

“Morata is improving a lot, he's so ambitious, he looks for different solutions against different teams, he likes to read up on his opponents and this is a very positive aspect for a striker of his high level.

“[Weston] McKennie is doing well enough, he has been carrying this problem with him for a while, we know that and we're trying to manage it better. He can't play for the full 90 minutes, so we are trying to manage him as best as we can.”

The bigger picture

Juve require a positive result in midweek in order to keep their European dreams for 2020-21 alive.

A shock defeat in an initial meeting with Porto has them in a difficult position, but an away goal has been registered and one more effort would be enough to see them into the quarter-finals.

Pirlo has said of the task facing his team: “We know very well that the pressure is on us, but we don't hide.

“We have what it takes to go through, but we don't underestimate our opponent. Porto are a very good and solid team, but we are Juventus and we have to think about qualifying.

“Tomorrow we can't make any mistakes and will have to manage the 90 minutes with our best concentration and energy.”

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