Ronaldo and Sarri talked ahead of Lokomotiv Moscow clash

Cristiano Ronaldo held a rare presser, a year later after his last one, joining Maurizio Sarri in the usual proceedings before the Champions League game against Lokomotiv Moscow: “I think we are playing better now, we have more confidence in ourselves, our style is different. We are more offensive and have more precise positions. My role is similar, maybe I have a little more freedom, I can go where I am most comfortable. I am happy because little by little we are moving towards where we want to be. We have a new coach and new players, but we changed in order to get better. We are doing that gradually.”

“Every year is a new challenge for me and for Juventus. We want to win everything and I think Juventus have to think big, that is what you have to do in a top club. We want to bring home everything, we know it will not be easy in Serie A and Champions League, but we want to do it step by step. The individual accolades do not matter, the group does, because everything stems from that. We are on the right track, the awards come in second place.”

On Balloon d’Or: “It is not important. We have had a great season and got off a strong start. We improved, the achievements of a single player do not matter right now, only tomorrow’s game does, if we prevail, we will be half way there for the qualification.”

On Sarri: “I like the way he wants his team to play. We create more, have more possession. We did well last year, but we are getting better. Maybe we are not scoring as much as we would like to, but we are having more chances. We are top of the league in Italy and in a good spot in Europe. We are happy for what we are doing.”

On the 700 goals: “They are the past, I looking for more and to help the team, which is the most important thing. The individual awards are not my main motivation, they are nice and I am proud of them, but the priority is to win with Juventus and the national team, then the record will come naturally.”

“I am sad when people do not tell the truth, this hurts me. However, in football there are not many things that anger me. It is part of the business and I accept that, I have been in it since I was 17. I have a life, a family and kids beyond football, that is what matters the most. Everybody can criticize, it is normal to have favourites. I am fine if you talk about what I do on the pitch. Winning games makes me happy, scoring and then being praised by my kids. This is my driving force, also entertaining the fans with my football and passion.”

“Age is just a number for me, it does not mean that I heading towards the end of my career. I can prove that with my performances and my form. I am more mature than in the past, this makes the difference. I like to play with any of my teammates, they are incredible and do their job in the best way they can. It is up to the coach to choose the lineup. Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain are both great players, we saw that against Inter. We are a team, it does not matter who starts and who does not.”

On the work of Blaise Matuidi: “Many people say that the squad plays differently when I am there, but I disagree. It is not true that I do not help defensively, we all have our role. We have success because we work as a team.”

The coach took the floor next: “We will face a club that is having an excellent season, they are doing well domestically and also on the road. They are in decent position in Champions League. They are better than everybody thought they would be. We saw the Leverkusen game, they tracked back and defended with intensity, they recovered the ball quickly and created some dangerous situations. They are solid in the back and counter quickly. We need to have respect and calm because they will be 90 tough minutes.”

On the starting striker: “I would rather tell Higuain or Dybala first. They are both in good shape, so even by picking randomly the chances of making a mistake are slim and this is a great fortune. They will both get to play in the next three weeks. I am serene in both cases.”

“I believe that at the beginning of the season we were not creating as we should have, now we are not finalizing as much as we are capable of. It is not an overly worrying aspect, we are on the right track but we can improve our percentages.”

On Aaron Ramsey: “I do not think he will be out there tomorrow. He does not have a strain, but he feels some discomfort in his adductor and that is risky. We are working to solve the situation. Danilo has been practicing with us for a while, he is fine clinically, the only doubt is whether he can go to distance.”

On coaching Ronaldo: “It is clearly a source of pride. He has an extraordinary mentality since he continuously sets new goals for himself and for the team. He is already focusing on scoring 800 goals. It is positive for everybody, he is above everybody else mentally.”

On Adrien Rabiot: “Playing with continuity surely helps everybody, but it is tough to do in a top team. He reinserted himself in the conversation and improved. He proved he can better through practice, I am particularly happy for that. He did some specific work during the break and it helped him. He is having a great growth.”

On Merih Demiral and Daniele Rugani: “They are different, Demiral is closer to Giorgio Chiellini, he is explosive, while Rugani to Leonardo Bonucci, he is cerebral. It is a matter of skill-set, not of hierarchies. I hope that they will be able to play in a not so distant future, but we wanted to have continuity in the back.”

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