ROME (Reuters) – Maurizio Sarri says he found Cristiano Ronaldo difficult to manage during his time in charge of Juventus, as he had to consider the “personal interests” of the Portugal striker.
The 62-year-old was appointed as Lazio coach last month, a year after being sacked by the Turin club, where five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo has played since 2018.
“Ronaldo is not easy to manage, he is a multinational company with personal interests that must be combined with those of the team. I consider myself to be better at being a coach than a manager,” Sarri told Sport Italia.
“There are also a lot of positive aspects, because Ronaldo will bring results home in the end, and they are important results.
“He represents something that goes beyond the club, with more than 200 million followers on social media, but this is a problem in our society. Unfortunately, there is too much talk about players and little about teams.”
Sarri led Juve to the Serie A title in 2019-20 but was sacked at the end of the season after losing to Olympique Lyonnais in the Last-16 of the Champions League.
He suggested that his work was unappreciated, particularly in light of a disappointing 2020-21 campaign under Andrea Pirlo, in which the Old Lady scraped into the Champions League places on the final day of the season.
“We won the Scudetto without even celebrating it, everyone just went to dinner on their own,” Sarri said.
“The league title was taken for granted, inside and outside the club. But this year I saw them celebrating finishing fourth, so maybe those were the ideal conditions for going to Juve.”
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Robert Birsel)