MILAN (Reuters) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has stuck his neck out and predicted that Cristiano Ronaldo will score his first goal for the Turin side in Sunday’s match against Sassuolo.
Although Juve have won their first three games and lead Serie A with nine points, five-times World Player of the Year Ronaldo has yet to hit the back of the net since his move from Real Madrid in July.
“In his first games, Cristiano Ronaldo has had so many shots and hasn’t found the goal,” Allegri told reporters. “But he has been working well and I think that tomorrow he will score against Sassuolo.”
Allegri then talked at length about playmaker Paulo Dybala, who has started the last two games on the bench.
“He hasn’t played because I made some technical choices,” Allegri said.
“There’s no doubt about Paulo’s quality but it’s also a matter of balance. If he, Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic play together, then it needs a great sacrifice, otherwise we will struggle in defence.
“Paulo must win back his place in the starting line-up by working on the pitch. There’s no other way… When you have this much talent in the squad, someone has to sit out.”
Allegri said Dybala was between a rock and a hard place.
“I don’t like the pressure that is put on him because if he plays tomorrow and doesn’t do so well, he will be massacred (by the media)… The media are the first to demand he plays and then tear him apart when he does.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Clare Fallon)