'Cristiano is Cristiano when it matters' - Chiellini relieved Juventus have 'decisive' Ronaldo

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The Bianconeri offered their superstar forward a rest against Atalanta, but still required him to step off the bench and salvage a point

Giorgio Chiellini acknowledges that when Juventus have needed Cristiano Ronaldo the most this season, “Cristiano has been Cristiano” for the Bianconeri.

The Portuguese superstar was snapped up by the Serie A champions in an effort to bring even more match-altering ability onto their books.

He has not disappointed, with 13 goals recorded across all competitions.

The most recent of those came in a Boxing Day meeting with Atalanta, with Ronaldo required to step off the bench in that contest after being handed a well-deserved rest.

He was introduced in the 65th minute with Juve down to 10 men and trailing 2-1.

Within 13 minutes of entering the field, the 33-year-old had grabbed a leveller and preserved Juve’s unbeaten record in the Italian top-flight.

Bianconeri skipper Chiellini told Sky Sport Italia after another vital contribution from an illustrious team-mate: “This year there have been three moments in which we were in difficulty and behind in the game - the matches against Napoli, Empoli and Atalanta.

“It is no coincidence that in these three games, Cristiano has been Cristiano.

“Ronaldo is a decisive player, we knew it: in the fundamental moments he manages to bring out that extra something he has inside.

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“He was given a rest because you cannot always be at the top when you play so many games, but you can be decisive when playing 20 and he has shown that.”

While welcoming the odd break, Ronaldo will be hoping to find himself back in the Juventus starting XI when they play host to Sampdoria on Saturday in what will be their final outing of 2018.

Massimilano Allegri’s side head into that game sat nine points clear at the top of the Serie A table and yet to come unstuck through 18 fixtures.

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