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Pirlo: I never imagined I would coach ‘great’ Ronaldo!

Cristiano Ronaldo - Juventus
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Cristiano Ronaldo is an indispensable tool in the Juventus arsenal, and the superstar’s presence in the squad delights the new boss.

In the aftermath of their Champions League Round of 16 exit last season, Maurizio Sarri was relieved of his managerial duties at Juventus.

Another surprising decision, perhaps to a much greater extent, followed as the Serie A side elected an inexperienced Andrea Pirlo as Sarri’s successor.

Pirlo had just received his coaching license when he was appointed as the Juve head coach, and his only experience as a manager came during the nine-day spell in charge of the club’s U-23 side.

Even the most faithful fans were skeptical as to whether the 41-year old is the right man to take the club forward.

Doubts were even displayed over his ability to motivate and manage players, considering that he would be handling some of the world’s finest talents in Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, and Matthijs de Ligt, among others.

The former midfield maestro himself never thought he would get the opportunity of managing Ronaldo, who is just six years his junior.

Quizzed if he ever saw himself taking arguably the greatest ever player under his wing, Pirlo told UEFA.com: “No, I never would have imagined it.

“But I am happy to have a great football player available and to see him train and play. For me and for the whole team it is a great pleasure. 

“At 35 he works as a boy, with the same passion and the desire to commit himself every day. He is an example for everyone.”