Former Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri: Managing Cristiano Ronaldo is not simple

Sarri spent a year in charge of the Serie A giants, but never managed to fully win over the board or the fans during his stay in Turin.

Cristiano Ronaldo training in a file photo; Credit: Cristiano Ronaldo Twitter page
By Karthik Raman | Jul 6, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Former Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri has opened up about working with Cristiano Ronaldo, admitting that managing the Portuguese superstar at Juventus was “not simple”. The Italian worked with the Portuguese skipper for a year in Turin after managing Chelsea the previous year. The Italian coach was in charge of the Serie A giants during the 2019-20 campaign but never managed to fully win over the board or the fans during his stay in Turin despite winning the league title. With a talented bunch of players at his disposal, which was spearheaded by Ronaldo, Sarri struggled to transform their domestic success into European glory.

“Managing Ronaldo is not simple, from all points of view,” Sarri, who has been out of work since leaving Juventus, told SportItalia on working with the Portuguese skipper. “He’s a multinational company, he has personal interests that must coincide with football. His interests go beyond normalcy, beyond the team or club. I’m a coach, not a manager. Ronaldo, however, brings the numbers at the end of the year. But in recent years, I hear a lot about players and little about teams.”

Recently, a lot of speculations have been circulating around Ronaldo’s future. It is not yet clear where the future of the 36-year-old lies and Sarri was asked whether he sees Ronaldo staying at Juventus this summer. “It depends on the needs of the club,” he added. “If they have to save on the salary then they have to make a choice. In my opinion it is better to give up one player than five or six with the same savings.”


Before joining Juventus, Sarri spent a year at Stamford Bridge, managing Chelsea. It was not an easy beginning for the Italian but he managed to get the fans on his side with an impressive second-half display, which saw the team win the Europa League title. Opening up about his departure from west London, Sarri admitted that he made the wrong decision.

“Marina Granovskaia wanted to keep me from leaving Chelsea,” he added. “Today I say that it was a mistake to want to return to Italy at all costs. Chelsea are a great club, in the following years they have taken many young players [who would have been] suitable for me. I lived a particular year, in which [Roman] Abramovich could not enter England and we had an owner who was not present.

“A rather difficult situation, all in the hands of Marina and she had a thousand problems to solve, the football aspect was in the hands of us as the staff, but with not having the economic power required. Then came [Timo] Werner, [Kai] Havertz, [Mason] Mount, [Hakim] Ziyech – all suited to me and my way of playing.”

Sarri also went on to praise Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, who is enjoying a good campaign at Euro 2020 with Italy. “If he wins the European Championship, he is a candidate for the Ballon d’Or,” Sarri added. “He’s a refined player and that’s why everyone doesn’t understand him.

“He makes everything seem easy, it’s his greatness. When I went to Chelsea, we managed to snatch him from Manchester City. At first it was hard to understand him for the fans, the journalists, now I see that he is appreciated. He was also the captain of Chelsea.”

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