Cristiano Ronaldo was named only as a substitute for Juventus' opening Serie A match against Udinese amid renewed speculation he wants to leave the club.

Speaking ahead of his side's opening league game of 2021-22, head coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted Ronaldo had told him he wanted to stay in Turin.

Those comments came after the Portugal star posted to social media to hit out at what he described as "frivolous" rumours around his future.

However, on Sunday, Allegri selected Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata as a strike partnership, with Ronaldo on the bench.

Sky Sport Italia then reported that Ronaldo had requested to be left out of the first XI as he is attempting to secure a transfer before the window closes.

 

Ronaldo has been linked with a return to Real Madrid or Manchester United, while Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also been credited with interest.

However, any move would appear problematic. Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has already said the 36-year-old will not be returning and Los Blancos are said to be trying to build funds for an attempt to sign Kylian Mbappe.

Selling the France star would likely be the only means for PSG to sign Ronaldo given the huge increase to their wage bill following the free transfer of Lionel Messi, while United must sell before buying again after spending upwards of £105million on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

City, meanwhile, broke the Premier League transfer record by signing Jack Grealish for £100m and are expected to make another push to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham in the next week.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri says Cristiano Ronaldo has told him he wishes to stay at the club for the 2021-22 season.

Speculation has persisted in recent weeks that the Portugal star is pushing to leave Turin three years after his move from Real Madrid in a deal worth €112million.

A return to the Spanish capital was mooted until coach Carlo Ancelotti shot down the rumour, while possible moves to former club Manchester United, Premier League champions Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have also been suggested.

Ronaldo himself hit out at the media frenzy around his future in a social media post, condemning the coverage as "frivolous" and "disrespectful".

Allegri has now stated the 36-year-old wants to see out the remaining year of his contract at the Allianz Stadium.

"Ronaldo told me he's staying at Juve," Allegri said on Saturday ahead of Juve's Serie A opener against Udinese.

"He's always trained well. I read the rumours in the newspapers. He never told us he wanted to leave.

"Ronaldo is a bonus for us because he guarantees a large number of goals. Of course, we have to work as a team to bring the best out of a single player.

"Ronaldo didn't play the [pre-season] game on Thursday because we had been going through a tough week and I gave him half a day off."

 

Allegri returned to Juve to take over from Andrea Pirlo, having stepped down in 2019 following five hugely successful years with the Bianconeri.

He led Juve to five consecutive Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana, while also reaching two Champions League finals.

The 54-year-old said his past achievements will mean little if he cannot mount a serious challenge to reclaim the Scudetto from Inter.

"I don't have to show anything, I have to work to get results. What happened in my five years stays in the museum," he said.

"Ronaldo has won five Ballons d'Or but if this year he doesn't have a good year, they'll remember his last year at Juventus. The same goes for [Federico] Chiesa: what he did at the Euros won't count.

"We have to question ourselves every day, otherwise the conditions to win aren't created."

Atletico Madrid have completed the reported €35million signing of Argentina international midfielder Rodrigo de Paul, with Diego Simeone acquiring arguably the ideal creator for his philosophy.

De Paul, 27, has signed a five-year contract with Los Colchoneros and gets the opportunity complete unfinished business in Spain.

The midfielder spent two years with Valencia from June 2014 but endured an unsuccessful spell, failing to win over Nuno Espirito Santo and then Gary Neville, who allowed him to return to former club Racing on loan in February 2016.

De Paul came through the youth ranks at Racing and made his jump up to the senior side the year after Simeone left the club for Atleti.

After his brief loan return to Racing concluded, Valencia sold De Paul to Udinese where he looked to recapture the form that had earlier seen him identified as one of South America's most-promising young players.

He was a regular throughout his five years in Serie A but enjoyed his finest campaign of all in 2020-21, displaying a skillset that looks an ideal fit for the requirements of a Simeone team.

Throughout Simeone's 10 years as Atletico coach, his signings of creative players have tended to be hit and miss, with it a common conception that his intense demands both in training and during matches can sometimes stifle more mercurial talents who are not used to such workloads.

But De Paul, who is comfortable playing both centrally and out wide, has shown plenty of evidence he should be up to the challenge and is relishing the chance to play under Simeone.

"I'm very happy to have the opportunity of working under Simeone's commands," he told Atleti's website. "Firstly, because of the kind of football manager he is; one of the all-time best.

"I love football, it's part of my daily life, and having a manager of Simeone's high-calibre guiding me is a privilege.

"In addition, it fills me with patriotic pride. I'll enjoy being under his command because I grew up watching him play with Argentina's national team."

 

Providing creativity is De Paul's bread and butter, with his 82 key passes in 2020-21 bettered by only Hakan Calhanoglu (98) in Serie A.

Of those chances, 34 came from set-pieces, highlighting his prowess from dead-ball situations and ranking him fourth in Italy's top flight.

Only five players got more assists than his nine, but all of them massively out-performed their modest expected assists records, which ranged from 3.4 to 6.7. De Paul topped the charts for expected assists with 10.3 xA, evidence that his assists reflected the quality of his service rather than him getting lucky or benefiting from unusually good finishing by team-mates.

Yet the area which highlights a particular compatibility with Atleti is the fact he won more duels (294) than anyone else in Serie A in 2020-21.

Combine that with his league-leading completed dribbles (122) and it paints a picture of a hard-working player who also possesses the quality to get his team on the front foot.

He will join up with Atleti following a short break having played a crucial role in Argentina's recent Copa America success, in which he got the decisive assist for the Angel Di Maria goal that secured the title.

Lionel Messi lifted the Copa America on Saturday in Brazil.

But back in Europe, rumours continue to swirl about his future.

The 34-year-old forward is out of contract though the latest development suggests a resolution is in sight.

 

TOP STORY - NEW BARCELONA DEAL LOOMS FOR MESSI

AS reports that LaLiga have authorized Barcelona to register Lionel Messi despite the club's financial concerns.

Messi became a free agent last week with Barcelona working on a new deal, pending their financial constraints having been impacted heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paris Saint-Germain had been linked with a swoop for Messi but the approval of the authorities to register Messi is a strong indication he will stay.

 

ROUND-UP

- Highly sought-after Saul Niguez is being considered in a swap deal between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, which would include Antoine Griezmann, claims Football Espana. Liverpool were linked with Niguez earlier this week.

- Chelsea have joined the race for Rennes teenage talent Eduardo Camavinga, alongside Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid, according to Le Parisien.

- Manchester United are ready to spend £17m to sign Napoli's right-back Giovanni di Lorenzo following the Euro 2020 final, reports Il Napolista.

- Fabrizio Romano reports that veteran Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini will sign a new one-year extension with Juventus after the completion of Euro 2020.

- Newly promoted Watford are keen on Udinese's Danish star Jens Stryger Larsen after he impressed during Euro 2020, reports 90min.

- Newly promoted Brentford are preparing a £10m bid for Liverpool's Harry Wilson claims The Sun.

What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe?

The Paris Saint-Germain star is wanted in France and Spain.

France striker Mbappe is reportedly facing a decision over his future.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE HAS DECISION TO MAKE

Kylian Mbappe has a decision to make over his future as he enters the final year of his Paris Saint-Germain contract, according to the front pages of Wednesday's Marca and Diario AS.

Mbappe will become a free agent at the end of the 2021-22 season and the PSG star continues to be heavily linked with LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

L'Equipe, however, claims PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has taken over from sporting director Leonardo in contract negotiations and Mbappe is reportedly pleased with the club's early transfer business as Gianluigi Donnarumma prepares to join Georginio Wijnaldum in Paris.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano reports Cristiano Ronaldo's future at Juventus is uncertain. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with PSG, Madrid and Manchester United. Contracted to Juve until 2022, Romano says Ronaldo is not negotiating a new deal as the Serie A giants wait for the superstar to decide whether he stays or leaves.

- Aston Villa are hopeful of keeping star captain Jack Grealish amid interest from Premier League champions Manchester City, per The Telegraph.

- Bild reports RB Leipzig are set to sign Eintracht Frankfurt forward Andre Silva. The Portugal international starred in 2020-21 and has been linked with Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Madrid, United and City.

- United are eyeing Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka as a possible replacement for Paul Pogba, according to Sport Bild. Bayern and Goretzka have been discussing a new deal. It comes as Bayern also try to re-sign Kingsley Coman and Joshua Kimmich. Coman has been linked with United and Liverpool.

Atalanta are in advanced talks to sign Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso, claims Sky Sport Italia. Musso has previously been linked with Serie A champions Inter, who are reportedly eyeing Ajax's Andre Onana.

- Le10 Sport claims negotiations between PSG and former Madrid captain Sergio Ramos have hit a snag due to the club's unwillingness to offer a two-year deal. Ramos has also been linked with United, City, Chelsea and Juventus on a free transfer.

- A resolution for Lionel Messi's contract renewal at Barcelona does not seem to be close as he is set to officially become a free agent at midnight on Wednesday, claims Marca. Barca are pushing to complete the new deal.

Is Erling Haaland's future close to being resolved?

Borussia Dortmund, up until now, have been unwilling to part with their top asset.

But Chelsea are reportedly making progress to bring Haaland to London.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA CLOSING IN ON HAALAND?

Chelsea have agreed personal terms with Erling Haaland and now just need to agree a fee with Borussia Dortmund, according to the Transfer Window Podcast.

Haaland is a player in demand, linked with Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus.

But Chelsea have reportedly made a breakthrough in their pursuit to prise the Norway forward to Stamford Bridge.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport claims Madrid are targeting Inter star Nicolo Barella or Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli. Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips has also been linked. Locatelli is attracting interest this off-season, with Juventus, Arsenal, Inter, Dortmund and City reported admirers.

Arsenal are chasing Leicester City's James Maddison, according to Chris Wheatley. Chelsea and Liverpool are believed to be also tracking the England international.

- Eurosport reports Real Sociedad winger Mikel Oyarzabal is on City's radar. Pep Guardiola's side could make a move if Bernardo Silva – linked with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid – or Raheem Sterling leave.

Atletico are set to sign Rodrigo De Paul from Udinese, says Fabrizio Romano. The Argentina international has been wanted by Liverpool, Juve and Leeds United.

Milan are looking to sign Stuttgart forward Sasa Kalajdzic, according to Calciomercato. Chelsea's Olivier Giroud, Torino star Andrea Belotti and Madrid outcast Luka Jokic have also been linked.

- Bild claims Bayern would be willing to sell Kingsley Coman for the right price amid interest from United and Liverpool. The Bundesliga champions are also considering the futures of Niklas Sule and Corentin Tolisso.

Could Matthijs de Ligt leave Juventus?

De Ligt joined Juve from Ajax in 2019 but his future has been a topic of discussion.

Barcelona were strongly linked with him before he left the Eredivisie and are reportedly still keen admirers.

 

TOP STORY – DE LIGT A BARCA TARGET

Barcelona are keen on signing Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, according to Le10 Sport.

LaLiga giants Barca have already brought in Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia, while they are also said to be interested in Memphis Depay of Lyon and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

But it is claimed they are particularly eager to further bolster their defence in addition to Garcia's arrival, though they could face competition for De Ligt – Manchester United have long been linked with the Netherlands international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo reports Leicester City are considering a move for Barca outcast Philippe Coutinho. It would be a reunion for Brendan Rodgers and Coutinho after working together at Liverpool.

Atletico Madrid are eyeing Hakan Calhanoglu as an alternative to Udinese star Rodrigo de Paul. LaLiga champions Atletico want De Paul, who has also been linked with JuveInter and Leeds United. Should they miss out on the Argentina international, Calhanoglu is an option – the Milan star's contract expires at the end of June.

United have held further talks with Borussia Dortmund in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho, says Fabrizio Romano. Dortmund reportedly want £81million (€95m), though United are currently unwilling to pay more than £60m (€70m). Liverpool and Chelsea have also been linked previously.

- Romano also reports Gianluigi Donnarumma's contract with Paris Saint-Germain until 2026 has been agreed. The Italy international goalkeeper is set to join PSG on a free transfer following the end of his Milan deal.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Milan are in talks to sign Real Madrid pair Brahim Diaz and Alvaro Odriozola on loan. The Rossoneri have also been linked with Luka Jovic and are seemingly poised to secure the permanent signing of Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea as well.

What does the future hold for Achraf Hakimi?

In his first season with Inter, the Morocco international claimed the Scudetto.

However, his time in Milan could already be coming to an end.

 

TOP STORY – HAKIMI TO PSG?

Paris Saint-Germain want to sign star Inter full-back Achraf Hakimi, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Inter won the Serie A in 2020-21 but find themselves in a tough financial situation due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with head coach Antonio Conte already opting to depart.

Hakimi, Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Alessandro Bastoni could reportedly be sold to ease some of the economic pressure at San Siro.

PSG are believed to be interested, though Inter are demanding more than €60million for the 22-year-old, who only joined from Real Madrid at the start of the season.

Madrid have the right of first refusal and can match any offer for their former defender, while Bayern Munich and Chelsea have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail claims Arsenal are plotting a shock bid for Manchester City star Raheem Sterling. The England international found himself out of Pep Guardiola's starting XI at times in 2020-21. Madrid and Barca have been previously linked.

Paul Pogba remains a dream signing for Juventus, reports Calciomercato. Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli and Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez have emerged as targets for Juve, though the Bianconeri are still keen on Manchester United star Pogba, though Udinese's Rodrigo De Paul is an alternative.

- Romano says Barca are open to selling Philippe Coutinho, though Arsenal are not interested in the former Liverpool attacker.

Lionel Messi's contract extension is a priority for Barca before any new signings are made, according to the front page of Saturday's Mundo Deportivo. Barca have been tipped to bring in Lyon captain Memphis Depay, Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia on free transfers. Gianluigi Donnarumma – another free agent option as his Milan contract expires – is also a possible recruit.

- According to Romano and widespread reports in Italy, Luciano Spalletti has agreed to replace Gennaro Gattuso as Napoli head coach.

Antonio Conte did not speak to the media after Inter were presented with the Serie A trophy, with assistant Cristian Stellini saying the coach needs a high-level project that the club must match.

Inter boss Conte, who has one year remaining on his contract at San Siro, is set for showdown talks with the club's board after steering them to a 19th Scudetto and their first since 2009-10.

The Nerazzurri are in a difficult position financially following the coronavirus pandemic, with the future of the head coach and a number of high-earning players consequently uncertain.

Speaking after a 5-1 win on the final day of the season on Sunday, Stellini suggested Conte would be more than happy to stay at Inter but he needs the club's ambition to match his own.

"It's something many are asking about," Stellini said to DAZN when quizzed on Conte's situation.

"We should take a step back and think back to the start of this project. It was an important three-year project to bring Inter back to victory in Italy and to succeed in Europe. In Italy we achieved a fantastic goal. Great empathy was created between the staff and the players.

"This project should continue, but the answer will only come from the club. If this project can continue, we would be very happy. But when you have a top, high-level coach, the projects must be of a high standard and must remain at the top."

It has been reported Inter could be forced to sell at least one big-name player due to their financial situation, something Stellini thinks would play a significant role in deciding Conte's position.

"It could change things, but it's something the club explains to the coach," said Stellini.

"I don't know if that will happen. I don't know when the meeting will take place and what they will say. In that way, the club could also decide the fate of their coach.

"We are optimistic because we have created what we were trying to create, which is a team that excels in Italy and wants to grow in Europe. 

"We have this possibility in our hands and we don't want to let it slip away. It was difficult to think we could interrupt the domination of Juventus. 

"The Scudetto was unthinkable. We all did an extraordinary job and that is why a team like this needs to keep growing."

Inter finished the season with 91 points, making Conte the first Serie A coach to gain at least 90 in two campaigns with different clubs.

Romelu Lukaku wants Inter to establish a prolonged period of dominance in Serie A after wrapping up their title-winning campaign with a 5-1 victory over Udinese on Sunday. 

Inter sealed top spot with four games remaining and finally got their hands on the trophy after a resounding win in front of 1,000 spectators at San Siro.

Their victory meant they gained more than 90 points in a single top-flight campaign for only the second time in their history (after 2006-07), while Antonio Conte became the first coach to achieve that tally with two different Serie A sides in the three-points-per-win era.

Ashley Young put the Nerazzurri in front early on, with goals from Christian Eriksen, Lautaro Martinez and Ivan Perisic putting them comfortably out of reach. 

Lukaku, who came on as a second-half substitute, scored fortuitously when Alexis Sanchez's cross struck him in the chest after coming back off the post. It was his 30th goal in all competitions this season and his 24th in Serie A – only in 2016-17 for Everton has he scored more (25) in a single campaign in one of Europe's top five leagues. 

Roberto Pereyra converted a consolation penalty for Udinese but that did little to dampen the Nerazzurri's celebrations, for which fans had gathered outside the stadium. 

Having denied Juventus a 10th straight Scudetto, Lukaku urged Inter not to rest on their laurels next season. 

"I hope it can be the start [of a successful era for Inter]. Now I'll go to the European Championship with my country and when we all return, we've got to be even stronger than before," Lukaku told DAZN. 

"This year was wonderful for us because we worked so hard to win this Scudetto. Last season we came really close, but this year we played well, were physically strong. We all made a big step forward. 

"I am truly proud to play for this team." 

Lukaku donned a personalised t-shirt with an image of his grandparents on and became tearful as he celebrated the first major honour of his career.

"I didn't want to cry today, but the emotion was just too strong. This photo is of my grandmother and my grandfather, and I thought of them," said Lukaku. 

"When my grandfather died in 2005, I promised him I would win at least something in my career. I did that today and I am truly happy." 

Inter capped their Scudetto-winning season with a resounding 5-1 victory over Udinese at San Siro on Sunday. 

Ashley Young, making what is expected to be his final appearance for Inter, got Antonio Conte's side up and running early on and Christian Eriksen's deflected free-kick doubled their advantage at the end of a tepid first half. 

Lautaro Martinez converted a penalty 10 minutes after the restart and Ivan Perisic added a majestic finish in front of the 1,000 spectators invited by the club to witness their crowning moment. 

Substitute Romelu Lukaku scored a fortuitous 30th goal of the season in all competitions before Roberto Pereyra converted a consolation penalty, but that did little to stop Inter celebrating as they finally got their hands on the trophy in front of a gathering of fans outside the stadium. 

Inter's coronation got off to a great start with Young latching onto Martinez's deflected shot and dinking a fine finish over Juan Musso after eight minutes. 

Eriksen replaced Stefano Sensi, who went off with an injury that could impact his hopes of representing Italy at Euro 2020, and found the back of the net with a powerful free-kick that took a touch off Stefano Okaka. 

Inter moved further ahead in the 55th minute when Marvin Zeegelaar tripped Achraf Hakimi inside the box and Martinez drilled the resulting penalty into the bottom-left corner. 

A swift break ended with Perisic curling Matias Vecino's pass across goal and into the top-right corner, before a cross from Alexis Sanchez hit the post and rebounded in off the chest of an unaware Lukaku. 

Inter were unable to keep a clean sheet as Nahuel Molina's cross was headed onto Eriksen's hand by Alessandro Bastoni and Pereyra beat Daniele Padelli, who replaced Samir Handanovic at half-time for what is set to be his final appearance for the club, from the spot in the 79th minute. 

Gianluigi Donnarumma's future is dominating headlines.

Milan want to re-sign the Italy international but time is running out.

A blockbuster move to LaLiga could be on the horizon…

 

TOP STORY – DONNARUMMA TO SPAIN?

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has been offered to Barcelona by his agent Mino Raiola, according to Diario AS.

Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season and the Italy international is yet to re-sign with Milan.

He has been linked with Serie A rivals Juventus, Barca, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Donnarumma's arrival could force Barca to sell star number one Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Kylian Mbappe's proposed transfer to Real Madrid does not hinge on head coach Zinedine Zidane, who could leave at the end of the season. Former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and Madrid great Raul have emerged as the frontrunners should Zidane leave, but it will not impact Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe's future. Madrid have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Tottenham's Harry Kane.

Sergio Aguero is set to accept a contract offer from Barca until June 2023, reports Fabrizio Romano. Aguero is poised to become a free agent once his deal with Manchester City expires. Lyon captain Memphis Depay is also on the verge of moving to Camp Nou on a free transfer.

- Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul, Atalanta's Josip Ilicic and Roma attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan are potential replacements for Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu, according to Tuttosport. Calhanoglu's contract is expiring at San Siro amid links with Juve, United and clubs in Qatar.

Monza are eyeing Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Monza – owned by former Milan president Silvio Berlusconi – are currently in Serie B and missed out on promotion via the playoffs. Monza also boast Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng. Buffon has already revealed he will leave Juve at the end of the season.

Manchester United wanted Jadon Sancho ahead of the 2020-21 season.

But, United were unable to prise Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

United, though, are reportedly still pursuing the England international.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT SANCHO

Manchester United are lining up a bid for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Star.

United were heavily linked with Sancho at the start of the season but a move did not materialise, while the Red Devils have since been mentioned as suitors for fellow Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

But United have reportedly cooled their interest in Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich target Haaland as they make Sancho their top transfer priority.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Juventus have rejected a renewed effort from Barca to sign Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt.

- Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso, City defender Nathan Ake and RB Leipzig's Marcel Sabitzer are on Jose Mourinho's list of targets as he prepares to take charge of Roma, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Corriere dello Sport also claims Lille midfielder Renato Sanches is wanted by Mourinho.

- Mundo Deportivo says Barca are continuing to chase Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravernberch. Barca have also been linked with Liverpool's soon-to-be free agent Georginio Wijnaldum, who has since emerged as a reported target for Bayern.

Chelsea are frontrunners to prise Harry Kane from Tottenham according to Football Insider. Kane has been linked with United, City, Barca, Paris Saint-Germain and Madrid, while Chelsea have also emerged as a possible destination for Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski.

Andrea Pirlo acknowledged his Juventus players are mentally drained but urged them to secure Champions League football next season "at all costs".

A late double from Cristiano Ronaldo helped Juve fight back from a goal down to beat Udinese 2-1 on Sunday as they climbed up to third place in Serie A.

The Bianconeri are level on 69 points with Atalanta in second and Milan in fourth, and two points above fifth-placed Napoli, with four games remaining.

Juve's performance against Udinese lacked intensity but the win eased some of the pressure on Pirlo's position as head coach as he explained the reason behind their struggles.

Pirlo told Sky Italia: "When you are not used to fighting for the Champions League, but you have always been used to the Scudetto, something changes in everyone's mind.

"There is a bit of everything. Tiredness, mental fatigue. But now the goal has changed for a few weeks now and we have to reach Champions League qualification at all costs. 

"It will be tiring, but we must get there. The team knows what it wants, it's united to reach the Champions League goal. That's the most important thing."

No team has won more points from behind than Juventus in Serie A this term (17, alongside Sassuolo) and Pirlo praised his players for their capacity to fight back on the day Inter secured the Serie A title.

"This victory came with difficulty, with pride," he added. "It was also important in view of the results of the afternoon to win. We had complicated our lives for the umpteenth time by giving away a goal with big carelessness.

"But there was a great desire to bring home the result, right up to the end, so this is the most important thing.

"My congratulations to Inter and Antonio Conte – they had a great season and they deserved it.

"For us, a cycle of nine straight league titles comes to an end and another one begins. We want to fight for the Scudetto again."

Ronaldo has scored 16 of his 27 goals so far this season on the road, and no player has scored more away goals in the top-five European leagues.

He has also scored seven goals against Udinese in his Serie A career, and only against Cagliari (eight) has he done better in the competition.

"Ronaldo is a champion, he always wants to improve," Pirlo said of the Portugal forward.

"He gave the team positivity and made good plays. Today we clung to him, but the whole team did well reacting in the best way to get to three big points."

A late Cristiano Ronaldo double gave Juventus a 2-1 win over Udinese in Serie A on Sunday which boosted their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Udinese went into the break ahead when Juve's defence switched off after a free-kick was awarded and Nahuel Molina's low shot found its way beyond Wojciech Szczesny.

Juventus fleetingly showed moments of quality but equalised with an 83rd-minute spot-kick from Ronaldo, awarded after the Portugal forward's free-kick moments earlier struck the arm of Rodrigo de Paul.

Ronaldo added a second with one minute left when he headed in Adrien Rabiot's cross at the back post to secure a dramatic late win for Andrea Pirlo, who raced down the touchline to celebrate with Juve's players.

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