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Pirlo explains his decision to take unhappy Ronaldo off the pitch

Andrea Pirlo, Cristiano Ronaldo
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The Juventus manager explained his decision to substitute Ronaldo against his star man’s wishes.

Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t happy to be substituted against Inter Milan, but Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo insists he needed to give his star player a rest.

Ronaldo scored two first-half goals in the opening leg of Juventus’ Coppa Italia semi-final tie with Inter to cancel out Lautaro Martinez’s opener and seal a crucial 2-1 away victory at the San Siro on Tuesday.

But the 35-year-old Portuguese star appeared unhappy with Pirlo’s decision to replace him with Alvaro Morata in the 76th-minute.

“It’s normal that when you go out in a match like this you want to play to help the team,” Pirlo told Rai Sport.

“There is no contract clause that says he can’t be subbed off. He knows he is a fundamental player for us but to get his breath back, he must always be at the top.

“He proved it with his performances after some criticism. He couldn’t have done better than that.

“I said [to him] that he had to rest, we have an important match on Saturday. He has played many consecutive games, every now and then a little rest is good for him.”

Ronaldo and Juventus return to action on Saturday for a home game against AS Roma in Serie A.