Cristiano Ronaldo’s disgust at being substituted early during Juventus’ win over AC Milan could land him in more hot water than just incurring the wrath of manager Maurizio Sarri.
According to ex-Italy striker Antonio Cassano, the Juventus forward risks being banned for two years if he left the Allianz Stadium early due to anti-doping regulations.
Sky Sport Italia, as per Football Italia, report that the 34-year-old left the stadium three minutes before full-time of Saturday’s 1-0 Serie A victory.
There is no suggestion that Ronaldo left to avoid a doping test.
However, Cassano has warned that if Ronaldo did leave the match early for any reason then he risks violating anti-doping control rules.
The 37-year-old experienced a similar scenario himself during his playing career at Roma. The former striker left the Stadio Olimpico early during a derby against bitter rivals Lazio before being forced back.
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‘Did he leave before the end of the game?’ Cassano asked on the Italian television show Tiki-Taka, per AS.
‘You can’t do that because there is an anti-doping control,’ he explained.
‘I had to go back to the stadium urgently to avoid a two-year ban.’
Ronaldo was replaced in the 55th-minute on Saturday, his earliest substitution since he joined Juve at the start of last season and the first time he has been replaced twice in succession. He was substituted during their midweek Champions League win at Lokomotiv Moscow too.
Sarri’s side eventually beat Milan courtesy of Ronaldo’s replacement, Paulo Dybala, who struck in the 77th minute.
Speaking after the match, Sarri insisted there was ‘no problem’ with Ronaldo who walked straight down the tunnel after his withdrawal.
Despite producing a lacklustre display, Ronaldo gave Sarri a dirty look, muttered something under his breath and walked straight down the tunnel.
Afterwards, though, Sarri insisted he understood why the Portuguese forward was annoyed and explained that an injury was behind the decision to take him off.
‘We must thank Ronaldo, because he made a sacrifice to be there at all tonight in a difficult situation,’ he told Sky Sport Italia.
‘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.’
Source: Daily Mail