‘The team is happy to work with a smile… I see a bright future’: Cristiano Ronaldo takes dig at Maurizio Sarri and gives full backing to Andrea Pirlo despite Juventus dropping their first points of the season away to Roma
Cristiano Ronaldo believes happier players under Andrea Pirlo is the reason Juventus are still on course for a record 10th consecutive Serie A title.
The Portuguese superstar, who scored a brace on Sunday night to secure a point away against Roma, was left to reflect on the first dropped points of the 2020-21 campaign.
And while Inter Milan, who finished a point off Juventus last season, have strengthened this summer, Ronaldo is predicting a ‘bright future’ for the champions with Pirlo at the helm, instead of Maurizio Sarri.
Cristiano Ronaldo remains convinced Juventus have a ‘bright future’ despite slipping up
The Portuguese star believes players ‘play with a smile’ under new boss Andrea Pirlo (right)
‘We’re at the start of the season, there’s a new coach, new ideas, but I see the team working well,’ he told Sky Sports Italia.
‘We’re enthusiastic and I see a bright future for us. What we’re seeing is that the team is happy to work with a smile.’
Roma took the lead at the Stadio Olimpico from the penalty spot through Jordan Veretout before a penalty at the other end allowed Ronaldo to level.
But naive defending allowed the hosts to strike again, and it was Veretout again finishing off a quick counter-attack.
Maurizio Sarri was sacked at the end of last season with the mood at the club souring
Adrien Rabiot picked up his second yellow just after the hour to reduce Juventus to 10 men but a trademark Ronaldo header 20 minutes from time completed the comeback and they showed real grit and determination to hold on from there.
Sarri was sacked after a dismal Champions League last-16 exit to Lyon and having not won that competition since 1996, that remains one of the club’s biggest objectives for Pirlo’s debut campaign.
Ronaldo visibly clashed with the Italian on multiple occasions and fans became frustrated by his ‘Sarri-ball’ slow possession tactics. Under Pirlo the mood has been completely flipped.
Ronaldo started in a front two alongside summer arrival Alvaro Morata, and while the latter fell flat on his first game back, he already has one eye on Europe.
‘Leaving Juventus was not up to me,’ he explained. ‘I was happy in Madrid, but now it’s important for me to be here and I have kept in touch with everyone over the years.
Ronaldo once again produced a rescue act to save Juventus as they were held 2-2 by Roma
Alvaro Morata (centre) started alongside Ronaldo and he admits Champions League is critical
‘It was a great memory and now we have new challenges to face together.
‘The Champions League is very important to Juventus. If we were to win it this year, I would be the happiest man in the world. We want to win it.’
Juventus have taken four points from a possible six having beaten Sampdoria in Turin last week.
They now prepare to face an in-form Napoli next weekend after Gennaro Gattuso’s side put on a 6-0 masterclass against Genoa.