Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped to the bench for Juventus’ 2-2 draw against Udinese in their Serie A opener Sunday, amid speculation surrounding his future at the club.
Ronaldo eventually came on as a substitute, introduced on 60 minutes for Alvaro Morata, in a chaotic ending to the match that saw the Portugal international see yellow for excessive celebration after he thought he’d scored the match winner only for VAR to rule it out for offside.
According to Sky Italy, Ronaldo requested to not start the match. ESPN has reached out to Ronaldo’s representatives for comment.
Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri dismissed reports on Saturday claiming Ronaldo could leave Turin this summer, claiming the former Real Madrid player had told him he was going to stay.
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Juventus vice president Pavel Nedved told DAZN before the match that Ronaldo’s start on the bench was a mutual decision, and added: “Cristiano remains at Juventus.”
“Ronaldo is feeling well; I had talked to him before the game, telling him he would start on the bench,” Allegri told DAZN after the match. “He made himself available, he did well when he entered the pitch.”
Earlier this week, Ronaldo lashed out over the transfer rumours regarding his future, accusing people of being “disrespectful,” yet stopping short of committing his future to Juventus.
Spanish late-night TV show “El Chiringuito” claimed on Monday that a return to Real Madrid was in the cards, but Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti distanced himself from the story on social media.
Ancelotti worked with Ronaldo for two seasons during his first stint as Real Madrid manager. In that time, they won the club’s long-awaited 10th European Cup — beating rivals Atletico Madrid 4-1 after extra time in the 2014 Champions League final, with Ronaldo scoring a late penalty — before Ancelotti was sacked in 2015.