UDINE, Italy: Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said it was his decision to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench at the start of his side's 2-2 draw at Udinese, and not the player's choice as reported by Italian media on Sunday.
Sky Italia said that Ronaldo had asked to be on the bench for Juve's Serie A season opener in Udine in order to preserve his fitness as he looks to secure a move away from the club.
The Portuguese forward came off the bench in the 60th minute to almost snatch a dramatic stoppage-time winner, only for his bullet header to be ruled out for offside after a lengthy VAR review.
"Ronaldo is feeling well; I had talked to him before the game, telling him he would start on the bench," Allegri told DAZN.
"He made himself available, he did well when he entered the pitch."
Juve looked like marking Allegri's first match back in charge of the Turin side with victory after early goals from Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado put them in control in Udine.
But two errors from goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, the second one especially glaring as he inexplicably gave away the ball, let the hosts back in, as a Roberto Pereya penalty and a Gerard Deulofeu goal secured Udinese a point.
"We played a good game," Allegri added. "We should have done better in the second half, where we were unable to manage unexpected events. This must serve as a lesson to us.
"We lost too many balls in the middle of the park in the second half. Perhaps we were a little tired. Still, you can't concede these kinds of goals. We defended well before that, we hadn't conceded a shot on target."