Clubs, Cristiano Ronaldo, Italian Serie A, Juventus, Story


Our ESPN FC crew discuss whether Ajax can knock off another European giant away from home following their 1-1 draw with Juventus at home.

Juventus boss Massiliano Allegri has said Cristiano Ronaldo is unlikely to feature in Saturday’s clash at SPAL, where victory would see them crowned Serie A champions for an eighth consecutive season.

The Bianconeri are 20 points clear of second-place Napoli with seven matches remaining, which means they will be champions regardless should Carlo Ancelotti’s men fail to beat bottom-side Chievo the following day.

However, with one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League quarterfinal second leg with Ajax, Allegri said he will rest some of his players — including the club’s record signing.

“It’s unlikely [Ronaldo] will play tomorrow because he came back on the limit after the injury he had so there’s no sense in risking him,” Allegri said his prematch news conference. “This will be a chance for somebody else to come back, but the team which does play will be a strong and right one.

“A lot of players will be rested and there are many others who need to get some action. Maybe some will even be left at home. It will be a good opportunity for whoever comes.

Allegri was appointed Juventus manager in 2015, following in footsteps of Antonio Conte, who had led the club to three consecutive title victories.

Once confirmed, this will be Allegri’s fifth — but the ex-AC Milan manager said he wants the players to remain focused on the clash with Ajax even if the title is secured away to SPAL.

“[Title] celebrations can be postponed because on Tuesday we’ve got a game which closes an important cycle and could earn us a place in the semifinals [of the Champions League],” Allegri said. “It would be nice to celebrate [the title at SPAL].

“We might have some [youth players]. There’s no point making any predictions about injured players. Whoever is available on Sunday morning will be available for Tuesday.

“[Kean] will definitely start tomorrow and he will have the opportunity to show what he can do, then we’ll see about Tuesday.”

ESPN FC’s Italy correspondent Ben Gladwell contributed to this report



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