Cristiano Ronaldo is behind Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala in the pecking order when it comes to free-kicks close to goal, according to Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri.
Allegri spoke to the media on Friday ahead of Juve’s match with Cagliari on Saturday, and he discussed the Bianconeri’s set-piece situation.
Per Calciomercato.com’s Lorenzo Bettoni, he said: “Ronaldo is a smart guy. He knows Pjanic and Dybala are excellent free-kick takers, and they are going to take those close to the area. When there are free-kicks from far away, Ronaldo can kick them, but we’ve decided that Dybala and Pjanic will take the set pieces close to the area.”
Following Ronaldo’s arrival from Real Madrid in the summer, Pjanic told Juventus TV that he and Dybala were no longer the first-choice free-kick takers in training because “now, it’s 100 per cent him” (h/t MailOnline’s Sam McEvoy).
Despite his poor conversion rate, it was a rare sight to see anyone else taking free-kicks from promising positions at Real Madrid while Ronaldo was on the pitch despite Isco, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric all having the ability to score from such situations.
It seemed as though Juve would find themselves in similar circumstances after Ronaldo joined.
With the decision made to keep Pjanic and Dybala as the first-choice options for the most promising free-kick situations, Allegri has made a wise move that should make the team more dangerous from set pieces.
Ronaldo may have been used to being the main man at Real Madrid, but in this case, it will benefit the team for him to take a step back.