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Andrea Pirlo opens up on what it's really like to manage Cristiano Ronaldo

Jack Kenmare

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Andrea Pirlo opens up on what it's really like to manage Cristiano Ronaldo

Only 15 managers have been lucky enough to work alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in their managerial career.

Sir Alex Ferguson, a prominent figure in his trophy-laden career to date, used the Portuguese forward in 292 games of his 26-year reign at Manchester United – the most minutes of any manager.

Jose Mourinho [164 games], Zinedine Zidane [114] and Carlo Ancelotti [101] would also use the player regularly during their time as Real Madrid boss – as would Rafael Benitez and Manuel Pellegrini.

Then, after a record-breaking stay at the Bernabeu, Ronaldo would work under Maurizio Sarri, Massimiliano Allegri and Andrea Pirlo at Juventus, with the latter enjoying 44 games with the forward in his team between August 2020 and May 2021.

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Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

So what was it like to manage Ronaldo during that brief nine-month spell? In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, former Juventus player and manager Pirlo praised the 38-year-old's professionalism during his stay in Turin.

He also mentioned that age can catch up with players.

“For me it was easy to work with him," Pirlo said. "He was a good guy, very professional. He wanted to play every game, to score every game. We didn't have a problem but football changes very quickly. Age also.

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"Maybe he had a problem with another team, but for me it was a good experience.”

His time at Manchester United did, of course, end badly after he took part in a tell-all interview with Piers Morgan that ultimately hampered his relationship with manager Erik ten Hag and the club in general.

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Pirlo spoke about Ronaldo's decision to conduct that interview with Morgan in an interview with Diretta last year.

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“I think Ronaldo had been waiting for a long time to give that interview," the Italian said. "He’d prepared everything beforehand.

"Ronaldo has always had pressure on him and always will, that’s not an issue for him. I don’t think it put pressure on the Portugal squad either, because even if he hadn’t given that interview, the media still would’ve asked him questions about Manchester United during the World Cup.

"I think this is why he decided to get it out of the way, like pulling out a tooth that is wobbly, and now he’ll be even more fired up than before.”

Thoughts on Pirlo's comments about managing Ronaldo? Let us know.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Andrea Pirlo, Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United, Real Madrid

Jack Kenmare
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