Ronaldo Diffuses Sarri Rift

Cristiano Ronaldo has diffused any rift with Maurizio Sarri by echoing his club manager’s suggestions that he has been playing while carrying an injury.

Ronaldo was brought off after just 55 minutes with his replacement Paulo Dybala going on to score the only goal in a Serie A game against AC Milan prior to the international break.

That was the second time in a week that Ronaldo had been substituted after the five-time Ballon d’or winner was replaced against Locomotiv Moscow in the Champions League.

Any signs of Ronaldo carrying an injury have barely been noticed during the international break as he scored a hattrick against Lithuania last week before notching his 99th international goal for Portugal in a 2-0 victory over Luxembourg on Sunday that booked their place in EURO 2020.

Sarri has put Ronaldo’s recent substitutions down to not being fully fit, and the former Real Madrid man confirmed his manager’s sentiments after Portugal, who are the defending champions, sealed their place in next year’s European championships.

"Obviously, talking about your question, everyone has been saying that I was playing with some limitations in the past three weeks," he said.

"There was no controversy. You [the media] want controversies. You obviously know that I don't like to be substitute, but I have been playing with some limitations.

"I tried to help Juventus even playing injured. Nobody likes to be substituted, but I understand the substitutions because I wasn't fit.

"As well as in the last two games for Portugal, I wasn't 100 per cent. When it's needed to sacrifice myself for my club and the national team, I do full of pride. I knew there were many things involved in these games.

"As you know, Inter are putting some pressure on Juventus. We are two points ahead and we can't slip up. If we draw or lose, they will go ahead of us. So I sacrificed myself for the team.