Andrea Pirlo decided to replace Cristiano Ronaldo during the Coppa Italia clash between Inter Milan and Juventus on Tuesday, with the player not taking the decision too well.
The Portuguese already had a brace, which put his side 2-1 up after an early goal from Lautauro Martinez, meaning he was on course for a hat-trick, but was denied the chance to complete that in the final 15 minutes.
The player’s shocked reaction was seen by all on-lookers, and the manager was quizzed on the decision.
Pirlo told Rai Sport after the match (via the Metro): “I said that he had to rest, we have an important match on Saturday.
“He is playing many consecutive games, every now and then a little rest is good for him.”
The Italian was then asked about the player’s reaction, having been seen showing shock and unhappy emotions when exiting the field.
‘It’s normal that when you go out in a match like this you want to play to help the team,’ Pirlo added.
‘There is no contract clause according to which he cannot be subbed off.
‘He knows he is a fundamental player for us, but to get his breath back, he must always be at the top.
‘He proved it with his performances after some criticisms, he couldn’t have done better than that.’
Juventus have two big matches coming up in the next week, with a clash with Roma in Turin on Saturday, before we host Inter Milan once again for the second-leg of the Coppa Italia tie.
Ronaldo’s involvement could well prove to be the deciding factor in each game, and you can’t blame the manager for allowing his superstar a little rest during a congested season.