Ronaldo had missed Juve’s last game, a laboured 2-1 win away at newly promoted Brescia , with a slight abductor injury. He had previously played every minute for his club in the league and Champions League.
While Ronaldo hadn’t looked especially in discomfort during The Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday, Sarri had been keen to stress that he had no desire to risk his star man unnecessarily .
Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala played up front in Ronaldo’s absence at Brescia but Juve were eventually indebted to midfielder Miralem Pjanic, whose penalty spared their blushes as they were made to work for the win.
With two points to make up, Sarri has something of a headache at full-back with Mattia de Sciglio and summer signing Danilo both expected to be out until the next international break in mid-October. The Brazilian Alex Sandro has returned to his home country on compassionate leave after the death of his father.
Juventus fans will doubtless be confident going into the game with SPAL, with the minnows sitting second bottom in Serie A with just three points from their five games.
However, they will also remember a shock defeat in their away fixture there last season , as Moise Kean’s first-half goal was cancelled out in a memorable second-half comeback.
After their 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid in the opening round of fixtures, Sarri will be keen to get a first European win as Juve boss under his belt in what looks like a potentially tricky group from which to qualify.
The following weekend then brings the early title race six-pointer away at Inter, before the second international break of the 2019-20 season.