Cristiano Ronaldo could land himself in Maurizio Sarri’s bad books after featuring for Portugal in their 6-0 win over Lituania, despite claims from Juventus’ manager that his star forward was carrying an injury into the international break.
Ronaldo scored the first, second and sixth goal for Portugal to notch the 55th hat-trick of his career, while three goals in 11 minutes from Pizzi, Gonçalo Paciência and Bernardo Silva helped to keep the Selecção das Quinas in second place in Group B.
But Ronaldo could now face a fallout with his manager at after Juventus after Portugal boss Fernando Santos brushed aside Sarri’s claims that the 34-year-old has been carrying an injury.
“I do not find anything strange,” Santos said after Portugal’s win, quoted by The Express. “There was a lot of noise around Cristiano. I even read that he was angry.
“I already said it, that Cristiano was fine. I was not surprised at all. Of Cristiano, little or nothing surprises me.”
A suspected injury had been an excuse Sarri used to let Ronaldo off the hook for leaving Juventus’ 1-0 win over Milan before the full-time whistle.
The Portugal international missed teammate Paulo Dybala’s winning goal after storming off the pitch when he was substituted, walking down the tunnel without giving Sarri a second glance.
“We must thank Ronaldo, because he made a sacrifice to be there tonight in a difficult situation,” Sarri said after their win over Milan. “He did everything possible to play, but I saw he was not well and thought it best to take him off.
“Over the last month, he has had this little knee problem, he had a knock in training and it hurt the collateral ligament.
“It is affecting his performances and he is not at his best at the moment.”
But with Ronaldo clearly not only playing without an injury but also in fine form, Juventus manager Sarri is at risk of being left with egg on his face by defending the Portuguese forward’s actions against Milan last week.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Ronaldo and Sarri have had their disagreements this season either, as both of them exchanged words when the forward was brought off in Juventus’ 2-1 away win against Lokomotiv Moscow.
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