Juventus manager Max Allegri has admitted he will drop Cristiano Ronaldo to the bench against Udinese on Friday evening, as the Serie A leaders keep one eye on the Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
Trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Spain, Allegri’s side will fight for their European status at the Allianz Stadium, and given the 16 point advantage they have amassed in the league, they can afford to rest one or two when Udinese come to town.
That’s something Allegri plans to take advantage of, as he said he plans to rest Ronaldo, while giving positive updates on the condition of Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala, amid particular concerns over the latter’s condition.
“Dybala is much better after the match in Madrid, in which he took a blow,” Allegri told reporters, as quoted by AOL. “Mandzukic is much better.
“Ronaldo is fine, but he does not play, he will be on the bench.
“Bonucci and Chiellini are doing well but will not play. Douglas Costa is improving – but they are ruled out.
“Mandzukic trained separately, as did Dybala. We’ll see how they are after training on Friday. Kean has a great chance to play, say 99 per cent.
“There is a possibility Barzagli plays, as he is as fresh as a rose. When the old horses return, they run and they run well.”
Having won virtually everything on a consistent basis domestically under Allegri, that elusive Champions League win is the final piece of the puzzle for Juve, so the 2-0 deficit from the first leg will be a major concern, and given his history in Madrid, it’s something Ronaldo will be looking to put right on home turf.