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Cristiano Ronaldo: Andrea Pirlo reveals how Juventus forward reacted to being subbed off v Inter Milan

Cristiano Ronaldo was taken off in the second half of Juventus’ victory over Inter Milan (Picture: Getty)

Andrea Pirlo defended his decision to replace Cristiano Ronaldo during Juventus’ dramatic 3-2 win over Inter Milan and insisted the forward was ‘happy and smiling’ in the dressing room after the game.

Juan Cuadrado completed his brace from the penalty spot to secure a crucial victory for the Old Lady at the death, which saw them leapfrog Napoli into fourth place in the Serie A table.

Ronaldo had earlier broken the deadlock, finding the back of the net after having his initial spot-kick saved by Samir Handanovic, but the goal was quickly cancelled out by Romelu Lukaku’s penalty at the other end of the pitch.

Cuadrado’s deflected strike gave Juve the lead again on the stroke of half-time before the hosts were reduced to ten men as Rodrigo Bentancur was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Juan Cuadrado celebrates his winner for Juventus against Inter Milan

Cuadrado’s late penalty sealed all three points for the Old Lady (Picture: Getty)

Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure as he was taken off for Alvaro Morata with 20 minutes remaining, shortly before Giorgio Chiellini directed the ball into his own net to make it 2-2.

But after Cuadrado’s late winner, Juve head coach Pirlo claimed it was the ‘first time’ he had seen the iconic Portugal attacker pleased to be substituted.

‘I think it was the first time he was happy to be subbed off,’ he told reporters.

‘We were one man down, and he’d have been chasing shadows.

‘He was happy and smiling in the changing room.’

Pirlo admitted his side have made ‘too many mistakes’ across their campaign which is why they in a dog fight for Champions League qualification with two matches remaining of the season.

‘We should have had the same determination and desire to fight on every ball also in the other games of the season,’ the Italian said.

‘If we had done so, we would not be fighting for a top-four finish at this point.

‘We made too many mistakes in games that seemed easy on paper.’

Juventus kept their Champions League qualification hopes alive with the win (Picture: Getty)

Pirlo added: ‘We’ve asked ourselves many times what we’ve lacked this season. We didn’t have the same fire burning inside. We had to turn the light on again to fight the title and a top-four finish.

‘The boys have proved they are up to the task in big games. This group has a lot to give, we have many young players, but playing for Juventus means having more responsibility. It takes time to adapt.

‘We shouldn’t have dropped so many points, but this is a good team, we have room for improvement, there is a good base to work well.’

Pressed on his future, Pirlo replied: ‘I haven’t thought about it.

‘I was only focused on today’s game. We’ll talk about the future later on.’


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