New Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo has said that there will be times during the season when he rests his talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, in order to preserve the Portuguese superstar for longer, and to keep him fresh for the business end of the season.
The nine-time defending Serie A champions started their quest for an incredible tenth title on the bounce, with a 3-0 win over Sampdoria at the Allianz Stadium, with goals from Swedish youngster Dejan Kulusevski, Leonardo Bonucci and Ronaldo.
After the win, Pirlo was asked how he planned to use Ronaldo through the course of the season. The legendary former Italian midfielder said that it would be necessary to rest Ronaldo at different points during the season. Ronaldo himself does not like being relegated to the bench, but Pirlo said he would rest Ronaldo in the "less important games".
"We are thinking about [how to use Ronaldo] and talked it over," Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia.
"He’s not tired yet, as we just started, but when we come up to less important games, we’ll try to give him a rest.
"He’s a very intelligent guy who knows his body very well, so he is aware of when it’s time to rest or to step it up. When he will play depends on him."
Pirlo explains team selections for opening game
Pirlo made some surprise decisions with his starting XI for the first game, with three youngsters being blooded straight in to the first XI. Kulusevski played alongside Ronaldo upfront, Weston McKennie started in the midfield, while Gianluca Frabotta started at left-back.
"Frabotta had a good game - Alex Sandro picked up an injury, so I chose the Under-23 lad who is training with us very well," Pirlo said. "I didn’t consider it a risk at all to use him.
"The American (McKennie) arrived having started pre-season training in Germany, so was in better shape than some others. He made a few errors in his passing, but it was the first game, we can forgive him for that.
"It will take time to get all the various ways of playing together. I don’t want to just copy and paste anyone’s ideas, I have my own ideas, and want to adapt from the teams that inspired me.
"We haven’t had much time, as the pre-season started late and then they were away for international duty. We had only one friendly too, but it was a good debut and we’ll keep working on it."
Juventus' next fixture will come in Serie A against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on September 27.Published 21 Sep 2020, 13:44 IST