Cristiano Ronaldo and Maurizio Sarri don't have the best player coach relationship. Phot: Bernat Armangue/AP Photo
Cristiano Ronaldo and Maurizio Sarri don't have the best player coach relationship. Phot: Bernat Armangue/AP Photo

Rocky relationship between Ronaldo and Sarri puts Juventus' success in jeopardy

By Minenhle Mkhize Time of article published Nov 12, 2019

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The rocky relationship between the enigmatic Cristiano Ronaldo and manager Maurizio Sarri may jeopardise Juventus’s pursuit of landing the coveted Uefa Champions League.

The sooner they fix it, the better for the Old Lady. The ultimate goal for the Italian giants is continental success. Right now they have no competition in Italy.

They are a dominant force and no club has the muscle to match Juve. The likes of Napoli and Inter Milan have tried their level best to dethrone the Old Lady from the pinnacle of Italian football in the last couple of years but their efforts have been in vain.

Juventus have captured eight league titles in succession. That is total dominance at it best. You can’t ask more than that. Lifting a league title is more like a formality to the Old Lady.

They have made it a norm to lift domestic silverware.

The reason why they broke the bank to acquire the services of Ronaldo was to challenge for the Champions League.

Continental success has eluded Juventus for the past two decades. The last time they were crowned European club champions was back in 1995/96. It’s been a long wait for Juve - 23 years is not child’s play.

They have to put that barren run to bed and key to that is Ronaldo. His record in the Champions League speaks volumes.

During his trophy-laden stint with Real Madrid, the Portuguese lifted four Champions League winner’s medals. He was colossal in all of those triumphs.

Obviously titles are not won by individual players, but individual players can influence the game significantly and that’s what Ronaldo is capable of delivering. He doesn’t succumb to pressure and thrives in the heat of battle. Winning is in his DNA.

The mercurial Ronaldo has struggled with an injury. He is nowhere near his best but with him, even if he is not at his best, he always find ways to rattle the net.

Obviously he was not satisfied with his substitutions against AC Milan Sunday in the league and in midweek against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League.

Ronaldo is obsessed with scoring goals. When he doesn’t score he fumes. That’s why he was not happy at being taken off in both matches.

Yes, there’s no player who is bigger than the team, I agree, but certain players have to be treated differently.

It may sound wrong but Ronaldo is a special player. He has proven that time and time again for both club and country.

I’m not trying to imply that he must be treated with kid gloves, no. It doesn’t have to be like that. The fact that he has just came off an injury means the coach should sit down with Ronaldo and ask him: "Are you okay with playing 90 minutes or can you last 54 minutes", and then Ronaldo can say, "yes, I’m not fully fit, I can play 54 minutes".

By doing that as a coach you are avoiding a situation where your player shows his dissatisfaction of being sacrificed in front of the public. There are some situations that can be avoided or can be handled in a gentle manner.

At the end of the day, Sarri deserves respect and so does Ronaldo. The club needs both of them and if Juventus are serious about reaching the pinnacle of European football, Ronaldo and Sarri must iron out their issues.


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