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Cristiano Ronaldo

Sarri: It's not easy managing Ronaldo & leaving Chelsea was a mistake

10:00 GMT 06/07/2021
Cristiano Ronaldo Maurizio Sarri Juventus 2019-20 GFX
The Italian coach worked with a Portuguese superstar for a year at Juventus, having spent the previous campaign at Stamford Bridge

Maurizio Sarri admits that managing Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus was "not simple" and concedes that he made a "mistake" in leaving Chelsea after just one season.

The experienced Italian tactician spent the 2019-20 campaign in charge of the Serie A giants in Turin, but title glory was not enough to keep his head off the chopping block.

Sarri found himself working under the brightest of spotlights, with there one superstar in particular that made it difficult for him to keep full focus locked on footballing matters.

What has been said?

Sarri, who has been out of work since leaving Juve, has told SportItalia of managing a Portuguese five-time Ballon d'Or winner: "Managing Ronaldo is not simple, from all points of view.

"He’s a multinational company, he has personal interests that must coincide with football.

"His interests go beyond normalcy, beyond the team or club. I’m a coach, not a manager. Ronaldo, however, brings the numbers at the end of the year. But in recent years, I hear a lot about players and little about teams."

Quizzed on whether he sees Ronaldo staying at Juventus this summer, with questions being asked of the 36-year-old's future, Sarri added: "It depends on the needs of the club.

"If they have to save on the salary then they have to make a choice. In my opinion it is better to give up one player than five or six with the same savings."

Why did Sarri leave Chelsea?

Prior to spending a solitary season with the Bianconeri, Sarri took in a year-long spell at Chelsea.

He delivered a Europa League crown during his time at Stamford Bridge, but pushed to head home after just 12 months.

The 62-year-old accepts that he made the wrong decision there, saying of his departure from west London: "Marina Granovskaia wanted to keep me from leaving Chelsea. Today I say that it was a mistake to want to return to Italy at all costs.

"Chelsea are a great club, in the following years they have taken many young players [who would have been] suitable for me. 

"I lived a particular year, in which [Roman] Abramovich could not enter England and we had an owner who was not present. 

"A rather difficult situation, all in the hands of Marina and she had a thousand problems to solve, the football aspect was in the hands of us as the staff, but with not having the economic power required. 

"Then came [Timo] Werner, [Kai] Havertz, [Mason] Mount, [Hakim] Ziyech - all suited to me and my way of playing."

Any other business?

One player that Sarri did work with, having previously had him at Napoli, was classy playmaker Jorginho.

The 29-year-old midfielder has been underappreciated at times in England, but is now getting the recognition he deserves as a bid for Euro 2020 with Italy pushes him into Ballon d'Or contention.

Sarri said of a familiar face: "If he wins the European Championship, he is a candidate for the Ballon d’Or.

"He’s a refined player and that’s why everyone doesn’t understand him.

"He makes everything seem easy, it’s his greatness. When I went to Chelsea, we managed to snatch him from Manchester City.

"At first it was hard to understand him for the fans, the journalists, now I see that he is appreciated. He was also the captain of Chelsea."

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