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'There was no controversy' - Ronaldo plays down angry reaction to Juventus substitutions

20:55 SAST 2019/11/17
Cristiano Ronaldo Maurizio Sarri Juventus 2019-20
The Portugal forward caused a stir before the international break, but insists reports of a rift with his club manager are wide of the mark

Cristiano Ronaldo has played down his angry reaction to being substituted twice for Juventus in recent weeks, revealing that he has not been 100 per cent fit.

The former Real Madrid forward was first taken off for Paulo Dybala in the 82nd minute of a Champions League match against Lokomotiv Moscow on November 6.

Ronaldo was clearly frustrated as he made his way off the pitch, exchanging words with manager Maurizio Sarri before making his way to the bench.

Four days later the Portugal forward was again replaced by Dybala, this time 10 minutes into the second half, during a Serie A clash against Milan.

The 34-year-old again reacted angrily and stormed down the tunnel, with reports suggesting he had even left the stadium before the full time whistle.

Sarri refused to be critical of his striker's conduct, insisting that he was willing to play despite continuing to struggle with a knee injury.

That did not stop rumours of a rift between the pair, though Ronaldo has looked to put an end to the speculation by confirming his fitness issues.

“For the last three weeks, I have been playing limited,” he told reporters via Record after scoring his 99th international goal in Portugal’s 2-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Luxembourg on Sunday. “There was no controversy, you create controversy.

“I don't like to be replaced, but I have been playing limited for the last three weeks, I tried to help Juventus, even playing injured.

“I'm still not 100% but when it comes to sacrificing for the club or team I do it with pride because I know there were a lot of games up for grabs.

“At Juventus, Inter are putting a lot of pressure. We are two points ahead, but we can't go easy because if they draw or lose, they overtake us and I sacrificed myself.

“I have never had major injuries. I play 50 or 60 games a year, but at one time or another there may be an unforeseen event: It's a pain that keeps me from being 100%. But I always try to help.

“There has been a lot of controversy on this subject, without there being much to see.

“We won. Juventus is in first place, we (Portugal) qualified and I will be 100% fit as fast as possible.”