Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Ronaldo not immune to Juve criticism – Morata

SoccerNews in Serie A 24 Mar 2021

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Alvaro Morata believes Cristiano Ronaldo is happy at Juventus but says the superstar forward will certainly have been affected by the criticism directed his way.

Ronaldo joined Juve in 2018, signing a four-year deal in Turin.

He has gone on to help the Bianconeri to successive Serie A titles – their eighth and ninth in a row – yet has not been able to propel the team to Champions League glory.

It is a failure that cost both Massimiliano Allegri and Maurizio Sarri their jobs, while latest incumbent Andrea Pirlo will also be unable to count European success among any accolades this season, with Juve falling to Porto in the last 16 earlier this month.

Juve’s chances of a 10th consecutive Serie A title also look slim, with a shock defeat to Benevento last time out leaving Pirlo’s side 10 points adrift of leaders Inter.

With just over a year remaining on his contract, speculation around Ronaldo’s future is rife.

And although Morata hopes his team-mate stays put, he understands why the 36-year-old – who was heavily criticised following Juve’s Champions League exit – may be disappointed with what the Bianconeri have achieved in recent seasons.

“We have all been criticised but no one in the team has won as many trophies as he has,” Morata, who is on international duty with Spain, told Cadena SER’s El Larguero programme.

“It has affected all of us and whoever says it hasn’t is lying. I am the first to know when I receive criticism. I’m sure he will know when he is criticised too. I don’t have to explain who Cristiano is because we all know.

“Small details were what decided the Porto game. We are all to blame. If I had scored that header in the first half we would be in the quarter-finals.

“But you have to look on the positive side. We won the [Supercoppa Italiana], we have another cup final against Atalanta. We have to look at this season as one of change. Some things can be improved and that is all there is to it.”

Asked about his relationship with Ronaldo, Morata replied: “We talk about everything apart from football. We spend a lot of time together and, when we aren’t playing, we talk about all kinds of subjects, life, the world we live in.

“We talk about the pandemic situation in Spain, in Portugal.

“He gives that sensation because he is so used to being at the top. It’s nothing to do with Juve because he would be the same at any other club.

“He seems happy to me but, the thing is, he is so used to winning that it’s understandable he feels disappointed – as we all do. But he’s happy at Juve.”

Morata came through the ranks at Madrid while Ronaldo – who has scored 30 goals in all competitions for Juve this term – was in the middle of his Los Blancos career.

“I’ve never thought about that,” Morata said when asked if Ronaldo could move back to the Santiago Bernabeu.

“A few years ago a friend asked me the same question but you know I am not going to answer. I want Cristiano to stay at Juve because I want Juve to have the best players.

“I hope to have him near but I’ll be pleased with whatever he decides to do that makes him happy.”

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