Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo insisted Cristiano Ronaldo does not receive any special treatment at the Serie A giants despite his superstar status.
Ronaldo has made a fine start to the season for Juve, scoring eight goals in his first six games despite being struck down with coronavirus for a period also.
His brace guided Juve past Cagliari 2-0 on Saturday, and Ronaldo has scored 29 of Juve’s 59 Serie A goals in 2020.
Ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Ferencvaros, Pirlo discussed Ronaldo – and said the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was treated like any other player.
“I haven’t challenged [Ronaldo] on set-pieces yet. I treat him like I treat all the other players. I’m always available on and off the pitch,” he told a news conference.
“It’s easy to have a good relationship between humble people. I’m like that.
“I behave with him – a champion – like I do with [Gianluca] Frabotta or [Manolo] Portanova, who are two young players.
“I do the same things I was used to doing when I was a player.”
Pirlo will finally be able to call on all three of his star attackers, Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morara, to play at full strength in the same team against Ferencvaros, with each individual of the trio having their own issues this campaign.
Ronaldo, Juve’s top scorer this season with eight goals in six appearances, missed four matches across Serie A and the Champions League after testing positive for coronavirus in October.
Dybala has battled injury and ill health and has only recovered full fitness in the past week, and Morata, who has six goals in nine games, needed time to settle after signing on loan from Atletico Madrid in September.
“We’ve been thinking about it from the start. Unfortunately, we never had them together in good condition,” Pirlo told reporters on Monday. “We are thinking of different solutions.
“Dybala was injured, Morata wasn’t there right at the start, Ronaldo had Covid… they trained together for a few days. Now, we’ll try to balance the team, and then we’ll look for a solution to let them play together, if possible.”
All eight of Ronaldo’s Serie A goals this season have come from inside the box, while he has converted 75 per cent of his big chances.
Ahead of hosting Ferencvaros, Juventus are second in Group G, three points adrift of Barcelona.