Allegri explains decision to bench Ronaldo against Udinese as transfer talk rages around Juventus star
Massimiliano Allegri has explained his decision to bench Cristiano Ronaldo against Udinese as transfer talk continues to rage around the Juventus star.
More than a few eyebrows were raised when Ronaldo was left out of Allegri's starting XI for Juve's first Serie A fixture of the 2021-22 campaign on Sunday.
The Bianconeri ended up blowing a two-goal lead and drawing 2-2 at Stadio Friuli, while Ronaldo saw a last gasp winner ruled out for offside after coming on for a second-half cameo.
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What's been said?
It has been reported that Ronaldo is seeking a move away from Allianz Stadium before the summer transfer window closes, but Allegri gave little away when quizzed on why he decided to name the five-time Ballon d'Or winner on the substitutes bench.
“Ronaldo is feeling well. I had talked to him before the game, telling him he would start on the bench," the Juve boss told DAZN after the game. "He made himself available, he did well when he entered the pitch, he also scored a goal, but it was disallowed."
Will Ronaldo stay at Juve?
Ronaldo's former clubs Real Madrid and Manchester United have both been tipped to try and re-sign the 36-year-old, while a link-up with long-time rival Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain has also been mooted as a possibility.
The Portugal international only has 11 months left to run on his contract at Juve, but Allegri has insisted that a prized asset has no plans to walk away from the club.
"I just read the gossip in the papers. He never told us he wanted to leave," the Italian tactician said last week. "Ronaldo told me that he is staying at Juventus."
Allegri on Udinese 'lesson'
Allegri also gave an honest assessment of his side's performance against Udinese, admitting that a lack of match fitness led to defensive mistakes in the latter stages of the game.
“We played a good game. Unfortunately, that’s what football is about," he said. "We should have done better in the second half, we were unable to manage unexpected events. This must serve us as a lesson.
“We lost too many balls in the middle of the park in the second half. Perhaps we were a little tired. Still, you can’t concede these kinds of goals. We defended well, we hadn’t conceded a shot on target.”
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was at fault for Gerard Deulofeu's 82nd-minute equaliser, with Allegri left lamenting the Polish goalkeeper's failure to clear his lines at a crucial stage of the game.
“Szczesny is a great goalkeeper, he didn’t make a technical mistake," he added. "But we should have understood the moment and don’t be ashamed of throwing the ball in the stands."