Cristiano Ronaldo’s furious reaction to his substitution in Juventus’ win over AC Milan last weekend has been defended by his team-mate Wojciech Szczesny.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid hitman was hauled off the pitch in the 55th minute of Juve’s 1-0 win over the Rossoneri, with manager Maurizio Sari replacing him with Argentina international Paulo Dybala.

Ronaldo was furious with Sarri’s decision to replace him, so much so he stormed down the tunnel and proceeded to leave the stadium.

Szczesny understands the Portuguese’s reaction to his hauling off, which he believes is a testament to his winners’ mentality.

“I think it is normal for a champion to get a little angry when he leaves the field,” the former Arsenal goalkeeper said of Ronaldo’s substitution.

“He will return in better physical condition and, as he has always done, will make the difference in the decisive phase of the season.

“In recent weeks he has not trained at 100 per cent, after the international break it will be better. We all know the qualities and personality of Ronaldo.”

Sarri echoed Szczesny’s stance during his post-match interview, in which he insisted Ronaldo was struggling with a minor injury.

The former Chelsea manager said: “We must thank Ronaldo, because he made a sacrifice to be there at all tonight in a difficult situation.

“He did everything possible to play, but I saw he was not well and thought it best to take him off.

“It’s only natural a player is going to be irritated to leave the pitch, especially when he worked so hard to be there.

“Over the last month, he has had this little knee problem, he had a knock in training and it hurt the collateral ligament.

“When he trains at high intensity or plays, it unbalances him, so he ends up overcompensating and it damages the calf and thigh muscles.

“It is affecting his performances and he is not at his best at the moment.

“All players who are trying to give their best will have at least five minutes of being annoyed when they are substituted, but a coach would in general be much more worried if he didn’t seem upset.”

Ronaldo and his Juventus team-mates will be back in action a week on Saturday, travelling to Bergamo to take on Atalanta.



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