Sarri: It’s not easy to deal with Ronaldo and leaving Chelsea was a mistake
The Italian coach worked with a Portuguese superstar for a year at Juventus, having spent the previous campaign at Stamford Bridge
Maurizio Sarri admits managing Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus was “not easy” and concedes he made a “mistake” by leaving Chelsea after just one season.
The seasoned Italian tactician spent the 2019-20 campaign at the helm of the Serie A giants in Turin, but title glory was not enough to keep his head off the chopping block.
Sarri found himself working in the brightest spotlight, with one superstar in particular who kept him from staying focused on football matters.
What was said?
Sarri, who has been unemployed since leaving Juve, said SportItalia to manage a five-time Portuguese winner of the Ballon d’Or: “Managing Ronaldo is not easy, from all points of view.
“It’s a multinational company, he has personal interests which must coincide with football.
“His interests go beyond normality, beyond the team or the club. I’m a coach, not a manager. Ronaldo, however, brings the numbers at the end of the year. But in recent years , I hear a lot about the players and little about the teams. “
Asked whether he sees Ronaldo stay at Juventus this summer, with questions about the 36-year-old’s future, Sarri added: “It depends on the club’s needs.
“If they’re going to save on pay, they have to make a choice. In my opinion, it’s better to give up one player than five or six with the same savings.”
Why did Sarri leave Chelsea?
Before spending a lonely season with the Bianconeri, Sarri spent a year at Chelsea.
He won a Europa League crown during his time at Stamford Bridge, but pushed to return home after just 12 months.
The 62-year-old admits he made the wrong decision there, recounting his departure from West London: “Marina Granovskaia wanted to keep me from leaving Chelsea. Today I say it was a mistake to want to return to Italy at all costs.
“Chelsea are a great club, in the years since they took on a lot of young players [who would have been] suitable for me.
“I lived a special year, during which [Roman] Abramovich could not enter England and we had an owner who was not present.
“A rather difficult situation, all in Marina’s hands and she had a thousand problems to solve, the football aspect was in our hands as staff, but without having the required economic power.
“And came [Timo] Werner, [Kai] Havertz, [Mason] Ascend, [Hakim] Ziyech – everything suited me and the way I played. “
Any other business?
One player Sarri worked with, having had him before at Napoli, was posh playmaker Jorginho.
The 29-year-old midfielder has been underestimated in England at times, but he is now getting the recognition he deserves as a Euro 2020 offer with Italy pushes him into the Ballon d’Or race.
Sarri said with a familiar face: “If he wins the European Championship, he is a candidate for the Ballon d’Or.
“He’s a sophisticated player and that’s why not everyone understands him.
“He makes everything look easy, that’s his greatness. When I went to Chelsea we were able to tear him away from Manchester City.
“At first it was difficult for the fans, the journalists to understand him, now I see that he is appreciated. He was also the Chelsea captain.”