Maurizio Sarri Discusses Cristiano Ronaldo's Knee Injury Ahead of Milan Clash

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2019

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus' Italian coach Maurizio Sarri during the UEFA Champions League group D football match between FC Lokomotiv Moscow and Juventus at Moscow's RZD Arena stadium on November 6, 2019. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo is a doubt for Juventus' Serie A clash against AC Milan on Sunday, according to manager Maurizio Sarri.

Per Football Italia, the tactician also provided an update on Matthijs de Ligt's recovery ahead of Sunday's match: "I don't know if [Ronaldo] can play yet, we'll see what he is able to do today and also tomorrow morning. It's nothing serious, just a pain in his knee that then leads him to unbalance his posture during games. Matthijs de Ligt had a positive response to tests on his ankle and we'll see today, as he'll train with the squad."

De Ligt missed out on the 2-1 win over Lokomotiv Moscow in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, while Ronaldo was substituted in the second half.

Juventus' Italian coach Maurizio Sarri (R) gives instructions to Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Verona on September 21, 2019 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO
ISABELLA BONOTTO/Getty Images

After the match, Sarri explained to reporters he made the change because the 34-year-old's knee has been bothering him.

Per Goal, the former Chelsea and Napoli boss was protecting his star forward:

The switch worked out, with Gonzalo Higuain setting up Douglas Costa for a late winner.

Higuain spent the first half of last season on loan at Milan, making Sunday's match against the Rossoneri a special one for him.

Sarri believes the added motivation could lead to good things "Gonzalo's history shows he needs strong motivation to give his best. He is currently in good shape both physically and psychologically, so he can and is giving the team a great contribution. He's really helping in the build-up, I feel he can do a tiny bit more in the finishing, so should go for goal himself more."

Sarri also said Leonardo Bonucci won't be rested, with the team's defence incapable of surviving without him. The 32-year-old has been an automatic starter since Giorgio Chiellini went down with an injury in August, mostly pairing with De Ligt in the heart of the defence.

He played next to Daniele Rugani in Moscow, but football writer Adam Digby felt that did not work out well:

De Ligt will likely replace Rugani on Sunday if his ankle is sufficiently healed. Rugani has made two starts so far this season and disappointed in both, but he is the most experienced option off the bench. Merih Demiral hasn't received any playing time since the 2-1 win over Hellas Verona in September.

Costa was the hero in Moscow and is expected to make his first start since August on Sunday. The Brazilian missed nine games because of injury, and adding his creativity and athleticism will boost Juventus.

Milan have won just four of their 11 Serie A matches so far and started the weekend in 13th place. Juventus came into the weekend in the lead, with Inter Milan one point behind. The Nerazzurri will face Hellas on Saturday.

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