Saturday January 16 2021
Ronaldo: ‘Real Madrid wrong to sell Hakimi, Conte...'

Former Inter and Milan striker Ronaldo defends Antonio Conte’s use of substitutions and says Real Madrid were wrong to sell Achraf Hakimi.

The choices of the Inter tactician have been put into question of late.  

“I've never criticised him, but someone else does it, judging by some messages I receive from time to time. I know people don’t always like hi substitutions, but sometimes there are needs that people don’t see from outside. It is the destiny of coaches, the same is happening with [Andrea] Pirlo, people said he didn’t have experience," the ex Brazilian striker told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I watched him closely, on the pitch. Pirlo has a superior intelligence, he will never play simple football and the team must follow him. He will need time, but if Juventus gave him the job, they will wait for him, things don’t change from one day to another.”

The two coaches will meet at the Giuseppe Meazza on Sunday.

“It won’t be a decisive match for the Scudetto race," Ronaldo insisted.

“A win would be good for self-esteem and don’t rule Milan out of the title race.

“They are surprising me, they play an offensive football, with quality.

“[Zlatan] Ibrahimovic has always said he considers me an idol, he is unique, even if I hadn’t had injuries, I would have never played until 40.”

Will Cristiano Ronaldo play until the same age?

“I don’t know, for sure he will try. He is different from the player I saw at Real Madrid, he knows how to manage himself now. Did you see him against Sassuolo? Even if he stays in the shadows for the whole game, he can hurt in the space of one minute.”

Does he have anything in common with Romelu Lukaku?

“They are very different, but there is one thing they have in common. When you have such strong players, it’s difficult not to depend on them.”

Are Inter the favourites to win the Scudetto?

“They have a great coach and a team with a precise identity. In addition to that they don’t play European competitions. That’s never a good thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Inter earn more points than their opponents in March, when European competitions will resume.

“They signed an extraordinry player in [Achraf] Hakimi. It was a mistake for Real Madrid to let him go, sometimes I think: ‘Ronnie, imagine you and him. We would go at a decent speed…”