Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is confident that Cristiano Ronaldo will be ready to face Ajax in the Champions League, although he insists he’s not able to play in Saturday’s Serie A meeting with AC Milan.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner sustained a muscular strain while on international duty with Portugal last month, which forced him to return to club duty early.
The Old Lady are now sweating on his fitness ahead of a huge Champions League quarter-final showdown against Ajax on April 10, but Allegri insists he is close to a comeback.
The Juve head coach revealed that Ronaldo will not be selected to play against Milan in Serie A this weekend, but he is hopeful he will be back in time for the trip to Amsterdam on Wednesday.
“Ronaldo is better,” Allegri told a press conference on Friday.
“Five days from Amsterdam there are good signs, he is doing everything to be there and we hope to have him available but he won’t be included tomorrow in the squad to face Milan.”
Juventus are top of the Serie A table by 18 points ahead of Napoli, with eight games remaining of the 2018-19 campaign.
The Bianconeri’s main goal, however, is to conquer the Champions League for the first time since 1996 and they are among the favourites heading into the last-eight stage of the competition.
Ajax represent a tough challenge for Allegri’s side, however, after their exciting young team made light work of reigning champions Real Madrid in the round of 16.
Ronaldo’s presence will be key to Juve’s chances of progressing to the semi-finals, having led from the front since his transfer from the Santiago Bernabeu last summer.
The 34-year-old has scored 23 goals in 36 matches across all competitions for the Italian champions this season and he is chasing the sixth European Cup of his illustrious career.
At Madrid, he picked up the trophy on three consecutive occasions between 2016 and 2018 – adding to a previous triumph with the Blancos in 2014 and a solitary win with Manchester United back in 2008.
Juventus have lost once in their their last seven matches across all competitions and they will be expected to pick up another three points against Milan before switching their attention to the Champions League.