Juventus are fighting for their Champions League lives on Sunday against Bologna, and they are starting their must-win Serie A encounter without Cristiano Ronaldo. The team’s superstar attacker was on the bench to start the match in what was a huge surprise for the fifth-place club, looking to jump Napoli to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Ronaldo is not injured, per Juve officials. Juventus director Fabio Paratici said the 36-year-old Ronaldo was starting on the bench since it was the team’s fifth match in 15 days. The club last played Wednesday, winning the Coppa Italia over Atalanta. Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala began Sunday’s match up top.
Ronaldo has played in 44 matches so far this season and just started in their Coppa Italia final win over Atalanta midweek. He’s got 36 goals this season and needs two more to have his best ever season for the club after recording 37 last season.
Juventus has not missed the Champions League since the 2011-12 season.