Pirlo reconsiders Ronaldo role

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Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo admits Cristiano Ronaldo could no longer be in the wall for free kicks, but he defends the Super League idea. 'Something has to change.'

The Bianconeri badly needed a result after their 1-0 defeat to Atalanta, and had gone behind to a ferocious Gaston Brugman free kick, but turned it around through Alex Sandro’s career first brace and Matthijs de Ligt to beat Parma 3-1.

Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo admits Cristiano Ronaldo could no longer be in the wall for free kicks, but he defends the Super League idea. 'Something has to change.'

The Bianconeri badly needed a result after their 1-0 defeat to Atalanta, and had gone behind to a ferocious Gaston Brugman free kick, but turned it around through Alex Sandro’s career first brace and Matthijs de Ligt to beat Parma 3-1.

“We made life difficult for ourselves with the opening goal, then ran a few other risks on set plays, and it’s a pity because we’d done well defending from dead ball situations this season,” Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia.

“We did well to turn it around and the win was important for our confidence, as we played well and needed to take home the three points.

“We have instinctive players, but must also give them directions on the positions to hold. They did it better in the second half than the first, especially with the body positioning to receive the ball. We were too distant in the first half and that slowed down the passing movement.

“Maybe we don’t maintain the same concentration and pace from match to match. Sometimes we are a little slow, we hold onto the ball, allow the opposition to occupy the space and it all grinds to a halt.”

After the costly Champions League exit to Porto, today Cristiano Ronaldo again did not do a particularly good job of blocking a free kick in the wall. Will he be removed from that duty?

“Unfortunately, these things happen, but we’ll evaluate it over the next few days.”

Inevitably, the last few days have been dominated by Juventus, Inter, Milan and nine other clubs announcing a breakaway Super League, only to scrap the project 48 hours later amid universal outrage.

Juve President Andrea Agnelli was one of the leaders in the movement, along with Real Madrid and Manchester United.

“Agnelli explained what was happening, but that the most important thing was to secure a place in the top four to qualify for the Champions League. He reassured and encouraged us ahead of this game.”

Pirlo was asked if he believed in the absolute need for meritocracy, which a closed league of 15 teams with only five qualifying with sporting merit does not provide.

“I already spoke about it yesterday, so did the President and the director. We all know the same things. Something has to be changed on the European level, because the ideas that were proposed were good ones, but we are also open to other suggestions and will respect the rules.”

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