Andrea Pirlo defended Cristiano Ronaldo’s record at Juventus following criticism following the elimination of the Serie A champions from the Champions League against Porto.
Ronaldo was to blame for Porto’s decisive goal in their away win when Sergio Oliveira’s free kick in the 115th minute slammed into the wall after Ronaldo turned his back on him and lifted his leg. Television expert and former Juve coach Fabio Capello described Ronaldo’s role as “the worst”, while former president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli suggested that the club fire Portugal’s captain at the end of the season.
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The criticism led to several reports in Spain that Ronaldo was unhappy at the club and seeking a return to Real Madrid, which he had left to join Juve, but Pirlo dismissed the rumors.
“It’s normal for him to be disappointed, as is the whole team,” Pirlo said at a press conference ahead of the Serie A clash with Cagliari on Sunday (12pm ET, live on ESPN +). “And it is normal that there are rumors after an elimination.
“He is the most talked about footballer in the world along with [Lionel] Messi, people always talk about him. It is worth remembering that you have always done well.
“He has 90 goals in a hundred games with Juventus and he has always shown his worth. It may happen that he does not score in a certain game, as has happened in others, and that generates rumors.”
Ronaldo also showed his determination to prove his skeptics wrong with an Instagram post where he said he is focusing on the future rather than the past.
Pirlo, who as a player won the Champions League twice with AC Milan and lost a final at Juve, has urged his squad to be motivated by this disappointment.
“The team is recovering because it was a great blow,” added Pirlo. “We have to seek to make the best of difficult times, and I am sure we will do so immediately.
“In Myself [playing] In my career, I have been in several of these situations: I won a lot but also lost a lot, and I always tried to start again with great enthusiasm despite the great disappointments. We will do the same tomorrow. “
Despite being eliminated from the Champions League, Juve is still in search of a tenth consecutive Serie A title – they sit 10 points behind leaders Inter Milan with one game less – and in the Coppa Italia final .
“We are in March and we still have 13 league games and the Coppa Italia final,” Pirlo said. “Our season did not end on Wednesday, it continues with the desire to show that we are Juventus: we want to fight for the title until the last day, and that depends on us.”