Ronaldo handed first rest by Juventus as Allegri seeks to manage workload

The Portuguese superstar has been left out of the Bianconeri’s starting XI for a Serie A clash with Atalanta on Boxing Day

Cristiano Ronaldo has been handed the first rest of his spell at Juventus, with the Portuguese left out of a Boxing Day clash with Atalanta.

The 33-year-old forward linked up with the Bianconeri over the summer.

Having invested €112 million (£102m/$128m) in a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, the Serie A champions are understandably eager to get as much out of him as possible.

He has figured whenever available up until this point, with his only break being an enforced one in the wake of a Champions League red card against Valencia.

Ronaldo has been an ever-present in the Italian top-flight, taking in 17 appearances to date.

Those outings have delivered 11 goals, while he has 12 across all competitions.

He may not be adding to that tally on Wednesday as Juve are giving him a post-Christmas breather.

In his absence from the starting XI, Douglas Costa and Paulo Dybala will provide the support for central striker Mario Mandzukic.

Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri had announced prior to a meeting with Atalanta that Ronald would be rested.

He said: “Ronaldo’s going to be on the bench.

“He’s available, but he’s going to watch the game together with me for the first time.

“I’m very happy with how he’s doing, as I am with everybody.

“We need him to be in his best shape in March when we get to the business end of the Champions League. He’s going to have to be even more decisive than he has been in recent years.”

Juve will be hoping that Ronaldo is not required in their latest outing.

A commanding eight-point lead at the top of the Serie A table has already been opened up, giving them margin for error, but they do have an unbeaten record to defend.

If Ronaldo is not called upon, then his final outing of 2018 could come against Sampdoria on Saturday.

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