Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the greatest players of all time. No question. Don’t even bring Pele into it, Maradona is in the conversation at best. But one day, we’ll have to bid farewell to two geniuses. And it’s becoming more apparent now: the Argentine is getting injured more than ever before, whilst the Portuguese is starting to slow down. There’s no bigger sign of the latter, when you’re getting substituted twice in a week.
The former Real Madrid winger has been substituted two games running by Maurizio Sarri. The way CR7 looked at his manager, his demeanour and then leaving the stadium early yesterday, suggests he was NOT happy at all with the decision. The Italian coach’s decision paid off, with Ronaldo’s substitute Dybala scoring the winner against AC Milan. One thing’s for sure: Sarri has guts to do that – regardless of if you agree with him or not.
Is Cristiano Ronaldo struggling?
I’m sure Juventus fans would agree that the five-time Balon D’Or winner hasn’t been great this season. 6 goals in 14 appearances, though not awful, isn’t great by his standard. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times. Ronaldo has been out of this world for over a decade now, but he is getting older and isn’t getting better. Everyone deserves a stint of difficulty, even this alien.
As for the former Napoli and Chelsea boss, his side sit top of Serie A unbeaten and 1 point ahead of Conte’s Inter. They’ve had to work hard for wins, not blowing away teams. It’s fair to say the Nerazzurri look incredible in 2019/20 under the former Bianconeri boss, which isn’t doing Sarri any favours.
As it stands, his substitutions seem to be working. Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t posing a massive threat in either game and the substitute has been good when they’ve come on. If Juventus start dropping points though and this substitution saga continues, pressure may start to mount on the former banker.
Issue blown out of proportion?
But are we just making a mountain out of a molehill? We’re 18 year old bloggers, so it doesn’t seem unlikely. Sarri has come out saying he has no issue with the 34 year old:
“I have no problem with Cristiano, he should be thanked because he made himself available despite not being in the best condition,”Sarri on Ronaldo substitution
As he mentioned, the former Manchester United forward has been struggling with a knee injury, so perhaps he is protecting him from aggravating it. It’s a testament to Cristiano Ronaldo’s professionalism and work ethic that he insists on playing despite clearly being in pain.
But the reaction is what strikes me more than anything. It doesn’t look like anger with himself, but anger towards Sarri. He has a big ego, and the substitutions will hurt that. I expect the situation to be resolved.
Cristiano Ronaldo will score more goals, perhaps not as many as 2 seasons ago, but will still get a impressive tally. He’ll do everything in his power to recover from the injury and get himself back to his best.
As for Maurizio Sarri, we know he has struggled with authority in the past (the Kepa incident). But he’s an intelligent coach. If he substitutes one of the greatest players of all time, there’s likely to be a good reason behind it.
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