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Max Allegri: Cristiano Ronaldo Only to Take Long-Range Juventus Free-Kicks

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2018

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo plays a free kick during the Italian Serie A football match between Frosinone and Juventus Turin on September 23, 2018 at the Benito-Stirpe Stadium in Frosinone. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo is behind Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala in the pecking order when it comes to free-kicks close to goal, according to Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri.

Allegri spoke to the media on Friday ahead of Juve's match with Cagliari on Saturday, and he discussed the Bianconeri's set-piece situation.

Per Calciomercato.com's Lorenzo Bettoni, he said: "Ronaldo is a smart guy. He knows Pjanic and Dybala are excellent free-kick takers, and they are going to take those close to the area. When there are free-kicks from far away, Ronaldo can kick them, but we've decided that Dybala and Pjanic will take the set pieces close to the area."

Following Ronaldo's arrival from Real Madrid in the summer, Pjanic told Juventus TV that he and Dybala were no longer the first-choice free-kick takers in training because "now, it's 100 per cent him" (h/t MailOnline's Sam McEvoy).

The 33-year-old has scored some stunning strikes from dead-ball situations over the years, most recently this incredible effort for Portugal at the FIFA World Cup:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't score free-kicks in major tournaments... #PORESP #worldcup #bbcworldcup https://t.co/urOf8zVb0N

However, he has struggled to provide a consistent threat from free-kicks during his career.

He had been waiting a long time for a free-kick goal at a major international tournament:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

45 - Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kick was the first that he has scored from a direct free-kick in a finals tournament, from what was his 45th attempt (World Cup & Euros combined). Moment. #PORESP #POR #ESP #WorldCup https://t.co/hKzeGfa0Yl

Despite his poor conversion rate, it was a rare sight to see anyone else taking free-kicks from promising positions at Real Madrid while Ronaldo was on the pitch despite Isco, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric all having the ability to score from such situations.

It seemed as though Juve would find themselves in similar circumstances after Ronaldo joined.

During the Bianconeri's 2-0 win over Frosinone in September, football commentators Matteo Bonetti and Adam Summerton took issue with that fact that Ronaldo assumed set-piece duties ahead of his more clinical team-mates, as did writers Ryan Baldi and Chloe Beresford:

Ryan Baldi @RyanBaldiFW

This was always going to be an issue for Juve. Dybala/Pjanic have a combined 16 free-kick goals in the last three Serie A seasons. Ronaldo only scored two La Liga free-kicks in his last three seasons with Madrid https://t.co/i4JIAUHl4p

Chloe Beresford @ChloeJBeresford

@adamsummerton Completely agree with this, it’ll hurt them in the long term if they persist with letting Ronaldo take them

With the decision made to keep Pjanic and Dybala as the first-choice options for the most promising free-kick situations, Allegri has made a wise move that should make the team more dangerous from set pieces.

Ronaldo may have been used to being the main man at Real Madrid, but in this case, it will benefit the team for him to take a step back.