The forward was a spectator for the final minutes after being taken off for Alvaro Morata in Saturday’s huge victory
Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo insists that Cristiano Ronaldo was happy to be substituted towards the end of Saturday’s thrilling 3-2 victory over Inter.
Ronaldo opened the scoring in the first half by converting a rebound from his own penalty after Samir Handanovic had saved the effort.
But as the game neared its end he was withdrawn for Alvaro Morata, and he did not stick around to watch a gripping conclusion to the must-win game.
What was said?
“I think it was the first time he was happy to be subbed off,” Pirlo told Sky Italiaof the decision, the first time Ronaldo has been replaced in a Serie A game this term.
“We were one man down, and he’d have been chasing shadows. He was happy and smiling in the dressing room.”
The bigger picture
In Ronaldo’s absence Colombia international Juan Cuadrado stepped up to become Juve’s hero in a match they had to win to keep alive their hopes of making the Champions League.
The Colombian restored the hosts’ lead at 2-1 after Romelu Lukaku cancelled out Ronaldo’s opener from the penalty spot, and swooped again minutes from the end to make it 3-2 with the third penalty of the match, which he earned himself.
That win puts Juve in fourth place, two points ahead of Napoli, although the southern Italians can move back into the last Champions League spot with victory over Fiorentina on Sunday.
Then it will all come down to the final day next weekend, with Juve visiting Bologna and Napoli taking on Verona.
Pirlo has come under pressure in his debut season after seeing Juve’s run of nine consecutive Scudetti come to an end as Inter regained the title.
The club idol, though, insists he is not thinking beyond the end of the season.
“I haven’t thought about the future. I was only focused on today’s game. We’ll talk about the future later on,” he added.