Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Ronaldo to start as Allegri aims to avoid Champions League big guns

SoccerNews in Serie A 11 Dec 2018

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Cristiano Ronaldo will start Juventus’ final Champions League group match against Young Boys as Massimiliano Allegri wants to make certain of qualifying for the knockout phase in top spot.

Juve travel to Switzerland two points clear of Manchester United at the Group H summit on Wednesday, but Jose Mourinho’s men could still finish above them.

The Old Lady need a win to make sure they are not usurped at the last hurdle by United, who will be eager to avoid finishing second as that would see them face a group winner in the next round.

A local derby with Torino on Saturday is likely to see Allegri rest some key players, with Giorgio Chiellini set to sit out.

But Ronaldo will not be afforded a rest, with Allegri desperate to avoid the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester City in the last 16.

“For sure, just like many others,” Allegri told reporters when asked if Ronaldo would have been rested had top spot already been wrapped up.

“Chiellini definitely does not play due to the synthetic pitch. Alex Sandro is almost back, but to immediately put him on the synthetic pitch seemed risky. He will be ready for Saturday.

“Chiellini I will leave to rest because on the plastic he can have problems. I also told him not to walk too much. In any case, there will be no excuses and a victory must be brought home.

“Juve is among the big clubs and avoiding the other first-place sides is very important. There are teams like Real, Barcelona, ​​City and maybe Paris Saint-Germain. Also, I hope all the Italian teams pass to the next stage.

“Finishing top does not mean that we will face an easy team in the last 16, but certainly softer.”

Despite highlighting the importance of finishing top, Allegri was eager to stress the overall standard in the Champions League is more competitive than it has been in the past.

“It is certainly more competitive,” he said. “The level will always be higher and this year many teams can get to the end: Juve, Barcelona, ​​PSG, City, Bayern and Liverpool.

“The only round that can be soft is the last 16, but only if we finish first in the group. From the quarter-finals onwards, it will be a very difficult Champions League and it will be impossible to get a simple quarter-final or semi-final.”

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