Cristiano Ronaldo is set to make his first Champions League appearance of the 2020-21 season after being named in Juventus’ latest European squad. Ronaldo took in a frustrating spell on the sidelines after testing positive for coronavirus while away with the Portugal national side during the last international break.
Juve was held to back-to-back 1-1 draws against Crotone and Hellas Verona in Serie A without the forward, who also missed their first two games of the Champions League group stages.
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Andrea Pirlo’s side beat Dynamo Kiev 2-0 in their Group G opener, but suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to Barcelona on matchday two, as Ronaldo was denied the chance to face off against Lionel Messi for the first time since 2018. The 35-year-old made his long-awaited return to action when he came on as a second-half substitute against Spezia on Sunday and made an instant impact on a game that was tied at 1-1 before his introduction.
Ronaldo produced a trademark run and finish to put Juve ahead two minutes after entering the fray, before doubling his account from the penalty spot 14 minutes from time. Pirlo’s men went on to win the match 4-1, with Alvaro Morata and Adrien Rabiot also getting on the scoresheet, and will be expected to pick up another three points when they travel to Hungary to take on Ferencvaros on Wednesday.
Ronaldo has been included in Juve’s 21-man squad for the continental clash, meaning he could be the line to feature in Europe’s elite competition for the first time since the team’s shock last-16 exit at the hands of Lyon last season. Captain Giorgio Chiellini will feature against Ferencvaros but Juve coach Pirlo says Paulo Dybala might be rested for the game.
“Yes, Chiellini has trained well,” Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia. “He recovered from his injury and he’ll be available tomorrow night. “Dybala is fine, I spoke to him again this morning. It’s normal that after three games, a bit of physical and mental fatigue builds up.
“The lad is fine, he needs to work and keep his physical level up. He’s important and will be useful for the rest of the championship. “Tomorrow he could be rested in view of Sunday, but he must remain ready. We are many now and there’s room for them to recover for the next matches.”
The Bianconeri must win to put the pressure on group leaders Barca, who will be aiming to maintain their 100 percent record when they welcome Kiev to Camp Nou on the same night. Juve will turn their attention back to Serie A matters after their latest European outing, with a huge meeting against Lazio at Stadio Olimpico scheduled on Sunday morning.