Massimiliano Allegri Provides Injury Update on Cristiano Ronaldo Ahead of Upcoming UCL Tie With Ajax

​Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has revealed he is hopeful that Cristiano Ronaldo will make his return from injury for the side’s crucial Champions League tie against Ajax next week.

The 34-year-old suffered a thigh injury whilst on international duty with Portugal in their clash against Serbia last Monday, and appeared to be an early doubt for Juventus’ Champions League quarter-final clash against Ajax.

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However, speaking ahead of the Bianconeri’s ​Serie A fixture at Cagliari on Tuesday, Allegri provided a more positive update on the Portuguese international’s possible availability.

The ​Juventus boss said (as quoted by the ​club’s official website): “Cristiano Ronaldo is working to get back, we hope to have him ready for Ajax, but it will be difficult.”

With the side still attempting to seal another league title, Allegri also confirmed that the likes of Douglas Costa, Sami Khedira and Juan Cuadrado were all closing in on their own respective first-team returns.

He added: “​Douglas Costa is in good condition and should be available for that game. Sami Khedira trained yesterday and could be back for Milan. [Juan] Cuadrado is working well and it’s only a matter of time until he’s back with the group. 

“I’ll see how ​Paulo Dybala is today, whilst Mario Mandzukic had a bit of a fever so will need to be evaluated. Spinazzola has a problem with his unoperated knee. I believe everything will be fine and he will be available in 15 days. 

“Mattia Perin took a blow to the shoulder so won’t be available for Cagliari, but hopefully for Ajax. Andrea Barzagli is back in training.”

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Moise Kean Set to Sign New Deal With Juventus Until 2024 as Stunning Goalscoring Form Continues

Moise Kean is set to sign a contract extension with Juventus until 2024 after negotiations between the striker’s agent Mino Raiola and the club’s vice-chairman Pavel Nedved, according to a report from Italy.

The 19-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent weeks both for the Bianconeri and Italy, and struck a 72nd minute winner in Juventus’ 1-0 win over Empoli on Saturday.

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Reports had previously suggested that Kean was close to signing a new deal with the club, and now Italian publication ​Tuttosport have revealed that the striker is likely to extend his stay at the Allianz Stadium until 2024.

The Italy international’s existing deal was due to expire in the summer of 2020, but Raiola’s relationship with the club and with Bianconeri legend Nedved in particular, have meant negotiations for Kean’s renewal have been relatively straightforward. 

The report further adds that the teenager’s imminent contract extension is seen as a major boost to the club’s overall profile across the world, and that it could play a major part in negotiating bigger commercial deals with companies.

Having come through the ​Juventus academy, Kean made his professional debut for the club against Pescara in ​Serie A action aged just 16, and thus became the first player born in the 2000s to compete in one of Europe’s four major leagues.


After spending the following season at Verona, Kean returned to Juventus and has enjoyed his most high-profile campaign to date with four goals in eight appearances for the side.

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Cagliari vs Juventus Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

Juventus will travel to the Sardegna Stadium to take on Cagliari on Tuesday night in the Serie A. 

The Old Lady sit comfortably in first place in Serie A with a remarkable 18 points between them and second placed Napoli. Juve are coming off a 1-0 win against Empoli on Saturday night which saw 19-year-old Moise Kean come off the bench and win it for his squad in the 72nd minute. Cagliari won their match on Friday night 3-0 against bottom feeders Chievo and currently sit in 13th position in Serie A. 


Check out 90min’s preview of the upcoming Serie A clash on Tuesday night. 


Where to Watch

When Is Kickoff? Tuesday 2 April
What Time Is Kickoff? 20:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Sardegna Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream Sky Sports
Referee N/A

Team News

Juve will be without their biggest star Cristiano Ronaldo for the match against Cagliari after the 34-year-old suffered an injury to his thigh while on international duty with Portugal. Douglas Costa continues to nurse a hamstring injury sustained in early February and will not be expected to be fit for the upcoming match. Paulo Dybala didn’t feature for the Old Lady against Empoli due to an unspecified injury picked up during the international break and will be a game-time decision on Tuesday night.

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Cagliari will be without midfielder Lucas Castro and centre-back Ragnar Klavan, both of whom are out with long-term injuries to their knee and achilles respectively. 


Predicted Lineups

Cagliari Cragno; Pellegrini, Pisacane, Ceppitelli, Cacciatore; Ionita, Cigarini, Farago, Barella; Pedro, Thereau
Juventus Szczesny; Sandro, Chiellini, Bonucci, Cancelo; Matuidi, Pjanic, Can, Betancur; Mandzukic, Bernardeschi

Head-to-Head Record

The match between Cagliari and Juventus will be the 80th time the sides have faced off since their first battle in 1964. Juventus holds the lead in the fixture, winning 40 times and each of the previous five meetings between the sides. Cagliari have won just 13 times with the remaining 26 matches ending in a draw. 

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In the first match between the sides this season, Juventus convincingly won 3-1 courtesy of goals from Dybala and Juan Cuadrado, as well as an own-goal from Filip Bradaric.


Recent Form

Juventus suffered their first loss of the Serie A season in their final match before the international break, surprisingly going down 2-0 to Genoa. The Old Lady have won four of their previous five matches with the loss to Genoa being the only blunder in an otherwise fantastic campaign thus far. 

Cagliari have won three and lost two in their previous five matches with big wins coming against Inter, Fiorentina, and Chievo during this stretch. 

Here’s how each side has fared in their previous five matches in all competitions:

Cagliari Juventus
Chievo 0-3 Cagliari (29/03) Juventus 1-0 Empoli (30/03)
Cagliari 2-1 Fiorentina (15/03) Genoa 2-0 Juventus (17/03)
Bologna 2-0 Cagliari (10/03) Juventus 3-0 Atletico Madrid (12/03)
Cagliari 2-1 Inter (01/03) Juventus 4-1 Udinese (08/03)
Sampdoria 1-0 Cagliari (24/02) Napoli 1-2 Juventus (03/03)

Prediction

Juventus have been a force in Serie A this season and their quest for an invincible campaign was recently squandered with the loss to Genoa. The Old Lady will be without some key stars for the match against Cagliari, with Ronaldo hurt and questions surrounding the fitness of Dybala. 

Kean has come out of his shell in recent weeks, scoring in both matches for his country during the break and sealing the win in Juve’s last time out.

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Cagliari will be hopeful they can get a result against a weakened Juventus side, but still have to slow down the likes of Mario Mandzukic, Miralem Pjanic and Federico Bernardeschi. Juve will prove to be too much for I Rossoblu and keep their lead at the top of the Serie A table.

Prediction: Cagliari 1-2 Juventus

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Massimiliano Allegri Discusses Juventus’ Injury Concerns & Praises Moise Kean Following Empoli Win

​Massimiliano Allegri said that teenage sensation Moise Kean had the ‘mentality’ of a Juventus player after the 19-year-old came on and scored the only goal in their 1-0 win against Empoli.

The Bianconeri laboured during the first half allowing their opponents to exert themselves and create some half chances. However, Allegri’s side not only lost star man Cristiano Ronaldo while on international duty but also Paulo Dybala in the warm up prior to kick off. 

After opting to keep Moise Kean on the bench, Allegri did get the key decision of the match right when he sent on the young Italian forward. Within three minutes of coming on, Kean met Mario Mandzukic’s flick on with a ruthless half volley to secure all three point for Juventus.

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As quoted by Calciomercato, the manager heaped praise on the promising forward who also scored on his debut for Italy during the international break.

“You have to have the right mentality when you play for Juventus, this is what makes the difference when you play at such high levels. Kean? He is young and he has to keep working hard that’s for sure. He has a lot of qualities and he has the potential to become a great player but it is all in the mentality.”

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Allegri also addressed the grander scheme of things as far as Bianconeri’s title challenge goes and the injuries to Ronaldo and Dybala via Juventus’ official website. 

We played a bad first half, we didn’t have distances and time against a good Empoli. We were better after the break where we didn’t concede anything. We needed a 1-0 that was a struggle, it’s another step towards the title.

“[Dybala] with Argentina he took a blow to the calf, today he had a hardening and we didn’t want to risk him.

“He [Ronaldo] did something this morning, but he went to jog. We need to see when he can run.”

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Juventus 1-0 Empoli: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Bianconeri Stumble to Victory

Without Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala, Juventus certainly lack creativity and incision in the final third, and that was evident by the way they stumbled to a 1-0 victory at home to Empoli.

The Serie A leaders began the match in conservative fashion as Empoli took the game to the Old Lady in the early stages. After a relatively lacklustre opening 20 minutes, Empoli’s Rade Krunic went close but dragged his shot wide. The first save was forced by Mario Mandzukic whose stooping header was pushed away by Bartlomiej Dragowski. 


Massimiliano Allegri must have had strong words for his side at half time. Federico Bernadeschi came out firing in the second half but saw his low drive shot tipped wide. A succession of missed chances followed as Juventus were left frustrated and failed to convert.

Young prospect Moise Kean entered the fray with around 20 minutes to play, and the 19-year-old made a sensational impact by smashing home the winner after being set up by Mario Mandzukic’s header to make it 1-0.

Here’s 90min’s breakdown of the game.


Juventus

Key Talking Point 

Juventus’ relentless pursuit of the Serie A title continued against Empoli in Turin where they were rocked prior to the match by injuries to two of their key forwards. 

Bianconeri were without the commanding presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who picked up a thigh injury whilst on international duty with Portugal. To make matters worse, Paulo Dybala picked up an injury in the warm up and had to be replaced by Rodrigo Bentancur. 

Allegri has rotated his star studded squad throughout the season but his hand was forced into a formation change because of Dybala’s injury. 


The Italian manager will want to ensure his side keep producing intense performances in order to hit the ground running in their Champions League quarter final first leg against Ajax.

The Bianconeri’s main priority is to win the trophy for the first time in 23 years. With the Serie A title all but wrapped up, Allegri will need to ensure his side do not become complacent.

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The manager ultimately made a key decision by sending on Kean, who took just three minutes to score the winner for Juventus in a generally laboured performance for the Turin outfit.


Player Ratings

Starting XI​: Szczesny (6); Cancelo (7), Chiellini (6), Rugani (7), Alex Sandro (5); Matuidi (6), Can (7), Pjanic (7), Bentancur (6); Bernadeschi (6), Mandzukic (7)

Moise Kean

Substitutes: Spinazzola (6), Kean (8), Caceres (N/A)


STAR MAN: 

In a performance in which Juventus looked tired, lethargic and short of quality and inspiration, no Bianconeri player registered anything until Moise Kean entered the game. Fans were disappointed the youngster did not start when Dybala was injured in the warm up and no wonder why. 


The striker half-volleyed an expert flick from Mario Mandzukic into the bottom left hand corner showing a natural talent in front of goal. His movement to get in behind the Empoli defence was something Juventus lacked throughout the match.

Kean followed up from his impressive debut for Italy, where he also scored, in sumptuous style. The youngster may now force his way into the starting lineup given the injuries to not only Ronaldo and Dybala, but also absentees Douglas Costa and Juan Cuadrado.


Empoli

Player Ratings​

Starting XI: ​Dragowski (7); Di Lorenzo (6), Veseli (6), Maietta (6), Dell’ Orco (6), Pajac (5); Traore (6), Bennacer (7), Krunic (5); Farias (6), Caputo (6)

Juventus v Empoli - Serie A

Substitutes: Ucan (5), Acquah (5), Pasqual (5)


Looking Ahead 

Juventus travel to Cagliari next time out in Serie A as Allegri’s side will look to build momentum towards a big match against AC Milan in a week while tightening their grip on the league title. 

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