Andrea Pirlo sees positives regardless of making ready for his greatest match since taking on as Juventus coach with Covid-19 -stricken Cristiano Ronaldo unsure in opposition to Lionel Messi’s Barcelona within the Champions League on Wednesday.
Pirlo took over after Maurizio Sarri was sacked instantly after Juventus’ final 16 exit to Lyon in August, the veteran coach lamenting one other failure in a “competitors cursed for Juve”.
The Turin aspect have gained the event twice, however not since 1996. They’ve been runners-up seven occasions, together with twice within the final 5 years.
In truth, 41-year-old Pirlo’s final Juventus sport as a participant got here within the 3-1 loss to Barcelona within the 2015 Champions League ultimate.
Juventus signed Portuguese star Ronaldo in 2018 with the goal of lifting the coveted European trophy, and his absence in opposition to Messi’s Barcelona might weigh heavy.
The 35-year-old might want to check destructive 24 hours earlier than being allowed to function in Turin. The return on the Camp Nou is on December 8.
“We miss him proper now, in fact,” mentioned Colombian teammate Juan Cuadrado. “He is a champion. In these very troublesome matches, his power, his mentality and his need shine by.”
Ronaldo scored three objectives for Juventus of their first two league video games, earlier than contracting the virus whereas on worldwide responsibility.
Even when Pirlo has but to file a loss this season, Juventus are fifth in Serie A, with three attracts in 5 video games.
“Barcelona? It does not fear me, they’re two totally different matches,” mentioned Pirlo after Sunday’s 1-1 stalemate in opposition to Hellas Verona.
“Verona play otherwise than Barcelona, in opposition to groups that play like this it’s a must to put together a sure kind of match.
“We’re within the development section,” continued the novice coach.
“We’re sorry to depart factors on the highway, however we’re on the appropriate path. We’re constructing a long-term challenge. I solely see optimistic issues.”
– Kulusevski, Morata spark –
Pirlo’s most important weapons in Ronaldo’s absence have been Spanish ahead Alvaro Morata, who scored each objectives in opposition to Dynamo Kiev, and Swedish striker Dejan Kulusevski, who rescued the purpose in opposition to Verona.
Former Chelsea and Actual Madrid participant Morata returned to Juventus this season with Kulusevski signed from Atalanta in January earlier than being loaned again instantly to Parma.
The 20-year-old Swede was up and working instantly, scoring on his membership debut in September and got here off the bench to provide Juventus the sting in opposition to Verona.
Pirlo has additionally been impressed with how Paulo Dybala carried out “effectively above expectations,” in his seasonal debut in opposition to Verona after over three months out.
Captain Giorgio Chiellini’s presence is unsure, with fellow defender Leonardo Bonucci’s thigh pressure being monitored, though Gianluca Frabotta, 21, has stepped into the breach, with Alex Sandro additionally out.
“Seeing how we began the opposite championships, this begin has been a bit sluggish,” mentioned Cuadrado of the nine-time reigning Italian champions.
“However we have not misplaced but.”
Each groups gained their Group G openers with Barcelona beating Hungarians Ferencvaros 5-1 and Juventus 2-0 at Dynamo Kiev.
– Ronaldo v Messi –
If Ronaldo misses his probability to line out on Wednesday he should wait till December to resume his rivalry with Argentine Messi.
They’re the 2 biggest gamers of their era with 11 Ballons d’Or between them, and the 2 highest scorers in Champions League historical past.
They haven’t confronted off for the reason that Portuguese famous person left Actual Madrid for Juventus, and each are working out of time to win the Champions League once more.
Messi, now 33, has featured in 4 victorious campaigns, all with Barcelona, whereas Ronaldo has gained it 5 occasions, 4 with Actual Madrid and as soon as with Manchester United.
Ronaldo has 130 Champions league objectives, of which ten have been for Juventus, to Messi’s 116.
Messi has gained 16 of their 35 encounters to Ronaldo’s 10, with the remaining 9 ending in attracts. Messi has additionally scored 22 objectives in these video games to Ronaldo’s 19.
The pair have solely met 5 occasions in Champions League video games, most lately within the semi-final in 2011.
Barcelona bought the higher of Actual Madrid with a 3-1 combination win with Messi scoring twice within the first leg.
Their most memorable conflict was the 2009 Champions League ultimate when Messi scored as Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0.