The Cristiano Ronaldo conflict is showing no signs of cooling off despite the international break ending, but the game must go on, and Juventus are back in action this weekend with a difficult trip to Bergamo to take on Atalanta.
Maurizio Sarri dropped a surprise in his pre-match press conference too, saying that he will be leaving Ronaldo off the squad this weekend.
“There’s no need to clarify anything with Ronaldo. Certain players need to be left to cool off.
“The problem is that, on Tuesday, he told us that he was still not feeling good.
“Our objective is to have him back for the Champions League. I’m 99 percent sure he won’t make it tomorrow.”
Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi however are back to full fitness though Adrien Rabiot and Juan Cuadrado are doubtful.
“There are some players with a few issues. Alex Sandro’s problem is less serious than we initially feared, whilst Rabiot has a problem with his adductor.
“Cuadrado is struggling with pain in his back, but Pjanic will be available.
“Matuidi is in some pain, but his character will get him through it. He will be available.”
Atalanta have been a free-scoring team this season, having banged in ten more than the Bianconeri, and Sarri wasn’t mincing his words on how tough he anticipated this weekend was going to be.
“To call Atalanta ‘annoying’ is an understatement. The best description was given by Guardiola, that facing them is like going to the dentist.
“They are a technically good side, as well as being aggressive.”
Juve remain unbeaten this season, but critics of the team and the manager insist that ‘Sarriball’ hasn’t quite taken effect as yet.
“Growth is always the defined by moments, not by a constant line. We want to play a certain type of football, but we can’t go against the nature of the players.
“It takes the right compromise. I’ve always done defensive work, for me it’s not news to have the best defence in the League.
“Changing the mentality for a single opponent is impossible.”