‘There is no clause preventing me from replacing Ronaldo’ – Pirlo defends removing Juventus star from the pitch in win over Inter


Juve boss admitted the 35-year-old was not happy about being substituted in Coppa Italia win

Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo has defended his decision to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in Tuesday’s win against Inter, although the Portuguese star is unhappy that he was taken off the pitch.

Ronaldo scored twice in the first half of Coppa Italia’s semi-final second leg, counter-attacking after Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring for Inter in the ninth minute.

Juve would win the game 2-1 at San Siro, enjoying a vital advantage for next week’s second leg in Turin.

After the game, Pirlo was asked about his decision to take Ronaldo out in the 77th minute and said he felt the need to rest his squad star, who turns 36 on Friday.

“It’s only fitting that when you go out in a game like this you want to play to help the team,” Pirlo said. Rai Sport.

“There is no contractual clause that says he cannot be replaced. He knows he is a fundamental player for us but to catch his breath he always has to be on top.

“He proved it with his performances after some criticism. He couldn’t have done better than that.

“I said [to him] we had to rest, we have an important game on Saturday. He has played many consecutive games, from time to time a little rest does him good.

After Inter beat Juve 2-0 in Serie A just two weeks ago, Pirlo was happy to see his side bounce back against a tough opponent.

“We were not ourselves against Inter in the league, it was a mistake, but it was also a valuable lesson and we worked on the mistakes that were made in this game,” Pirlo added.

“It’s only the first round, we haven’t achieved anything yet. What this proves is that if we are fully focused it becomes difficult for anyone who is against us. We know our strength.

“It’s not easy to maintain that intensity by playing almost every day. I saw a great reaction after being behind. “

Before Juventus face Inter in the second leg, they face Roma in Serie A on Saturday.

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