Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has revealed Cristiano Ronaldo’s relief at finally scoring his first free kick for the club after signing in the summer of 2018.
Ronaldo scored an important third in Juve’s 4-1 victory over Torino in the Derby della Mole on Saturday afternoon, with the visitors pressing to equalise after Andrea Bellotti’s penalty had halved the initial 2-0 deficit.
The Portuguese great became the first Bianconeri player to score at least 25 Serie A goals in a single campaign since 1961 with his strike, as Sarri’s side extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points following Lazio’s 3-0 loss at home to Milan.
After bagging free kicks for fun with both Manchester United and – to a lesser extent – Real Madrid, Ronaldo had failed in his 43 attempts previous to score directly from a set piece for the Italian champions, and Sarri revealed the sheer relief of the 35-year-old after the match.
“I didn’t know it was something that was bothering him, but at the end of the game he came up to me and said, ‘At last, at last!'” said the Italian boss, as quoted by Portuguese news outlet A Bola.
Ronaldo also spoke of a pressure relief after Saturday’s superb effort, saying: “I needed to score from a free kick to get my confidence back.”
The former United superstar has taken a fair share of Juve’s free kicks since his 2018 switch, despite the Old Lady boasting the likes of Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic in their ranks. Dybala has especially had greater success from these situations in recent times, while Ronaldo…well, hadn’t.
Nevertheless, Saturday’s impressive derby win means Juve maintained their 100% record in Serie A following calcio’s resumption last month – and combined with Lazio’s defeat to Milan, more or less wraps up the title for another year.