Maurizio Sarri admits Cristiano Ronaldo “is not a player like all the others” at Juventus, reveals the key to Matthijs de Ligt’s development and admires Sassuolo’s approach.
The first question was somewhat inevitably about Ronaldo and whether he would be rested in Serie A after the midweek Champions League win over Atletico Madrid.
“Cristiano is an immense resource. He has stamina, but perhaps lacks a little in sharpness right now, which is only to be expected,” replied Sarri in his press conference.
“We have three forwards of enormous potential, so we always expect a great deal from them. Cristiano trained well, partly with the team and partly in a separate routine, but he is available. All great strikers get irritable if they don’t score goals and I think it is a healthy attitude.
“Look, clearly Ronaldo is not a player like all the others, no matter what you’re supposed to say. Not all players are the same. If someone were to not accept that situation, it’d be a problem for them and not for the team, but I see no such issues. Everyone is crystal clear.”
Paulo Dybala has been on sparkling form of late, with Gonzalo Higuain also impressive, so when will Sarri try all three forwards together?
“We haven’t had time to perform experiments, as we play every three days. It’s problematic, as to have them we’d need one centre-forward and two wingers, which is not the situation here.”
Sarri was also asked about reports Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for 2019.
“I don’t know who is going to win. I’d hope it would be Ronaldo, because he is extraordinary. I also hope Matthijs de Ligt can contend for the young players’ award and that in future Dybala can have a real shot at the trophy. Having said that, no offence to all of you, I care very little about individual awards and even less so about ones assigned by journalists.”