Juventus: Cristiano Ronaldo, Allegri's Champions League plan
"I've spoken to Cristiano and we've decided which games he will play ahead of the Champions League quarter-finals," says Max Allegri.
As the business end of the season approaches, Juventus coach Max Allegri is busy making sure the Vecchia Signora are ready for it.
With second-placed Napoli 18 points behind them in Serie A, Juve have the Italian title as good as won, and are in a position to focus on the Champions League - a competition in which, in the wake of their thrilling last-16 comeback against Atlético Madrid, they were handed an eminently winnable tie with Ajax in Friday's quarter-final draw.
Cristiano Ronaldo "needs to rest", declares Allegri
And with Europe in mind, Allegri has sat down with star striker Cristiano Ronaldo and agreed how best to manage the 34-year-old's body over the next month, with the pair earmarking which domestic games he will play ahead of, and in between, the two legs against the Dutchmen.
Juve have five Serie A games in that time, against Genoa, Empoli, Cagliari, AC Milan and SPAL. Cristiano is to sit out the first of these fixtures, at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris this lunchtime, while the major question mark surrounds the home clash with Milan on 6 April - a box-office match-up that comes just four days before the opening leg against Ajax in Amsterdam.
"He needs to rest; he has played a lot and has returned to the Portugal squad," Allegri told reporters on Saturday. "I've spoken to him and we have decided which games he will play ahead of the Champions League quarter-finals. I'm obviously not going to say which they are."
Allegri urges caution amid Champions League euphoria
The coach called for calm amid the excitement that Tuesday's triumph over Atlético has generated in Italy, declaring: "People were saying we were out, and now they're saying we're already in the final. Let's not get carried away: Ajax are tough opposition; it'll be a hard tie. For now, we have to focus on the league - we need 15 more points to win the title."
He also had words of praise for Paulo Dybala, who has struggled to make the impact that he has in previous years in Turin: "He's getting back to his [normal] level, he's training really well. He'll be a big help to us in the final stages of the season."
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