Massimiliano Allegri Discusses Cristiano Ronaldo Gesture, Ajax Draw, Genoa Trip

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2019

TURIN, ITALY - MARCH 12: Massimiliano Allegri, Manager of Juventus looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Juventus and Club Atletico de Madrid at Allianz Stadium on March 12, 2019 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri doesn't believe Cristiano Ronaldo will be suspended for his controversial celebration in the UEFA Champions League win over Atletico Madrid.

Allegri spoke to reporters ahead of the trip to Genoa and discussed both Ronaldo's gesture and his reasoning for resting the former Real Madrid man on Sunday, per Football Italia. When asked if he believes the celebration will result in a suspension, he said:

"Absolutely not. I think everyone celebrated their own way on the field and in the stands. I saw nothing strange, just a celebration. There won't be a ban.

"I left Ronaldo at home this weekend because he has played a lot, has the two Portugal games coming up, and it would've been risky to keep playing him every few days.

"We have five wins left to be sure of the Scudetto, as Napoli could still in theory reach 90 points. We dropped the ball against Genoa in Turin and were held to a draw, but we need to take it one game at a time."

Football Italia shared a photo of the celebration, as the 34-year-old mimicked the gesture Atletico manager Diego Simeone made in the first leg:

Simeone was fined for the gesture but not suspended.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in the return leg to guide Juventus to a stunning comeback. The Bianconeri had lost 2-0 in the Spanish capital, and the 3-0 win in Turin marked the first time they had ever overturned such a deficit in the competition.

The Portugal international was widely praised for his contributions in that match, and Allegri also received plenty of plaudits for his gutsy tactical decisions:

The win provided the Italian champions with plenty of momentum, and they are now considered among the favourites to win the Champions League. The draw was also kind to them, as Ajax are seen as one of the weaker sides remaining in the competition.

Allegri warned his players not to look past the Dutch side, however, noting they did just eliminate three-time defending champions Real Madrid:

"I like this new system of the double draw, as at least you get it over quick. There's no point people saying Ajax are no match for Juventus, because they knocked out Real Madrid, have a lot of talent and are particularly tough to play against on home turf.

"It'll be different to the Atletico games and it would be a huge mistake to already start thinking about the semi-final."

Juventus football club ambassador Pavel Nedved (R) shakes hands with Ajax director of football Marc Overmars next to results of the draw for the Champions league quarter-final and the competition's trophy, on March 15, 2019 in Nyon. (Photo by Fabrice COFF

Juventus will face Genoa on Sunday and are expected to rotate their squad. Ronaldo hasn't traveled with the team, and both Blaise Matuidi and Giorgio Chiellini could be rested, per Allegri.

The Bianconeri have a massive 18-point lead in Serie A and will shift their focus to Europe, although they could still finish the domestic season unbeaten. Juventus have accomplished that feat once before, in the 2011/12 season.

They'll travel to Amsterdam for the first leg of their clash with Ajax on April 10.


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