Maurizio Sarri Admits Surprise at Sensational Paulo Dybala Winner in Champions League

Friday, 29 Nov, 2019

But this is Ronaldo we are talking about.

Argentine was seen as one of the players most likely to leave. Only goalkeeper Iker Casillas tops that, with 188 appearances.

But on Tuesday night, surpassing AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini's appearance tally was about as good as it got for Ronaldo.

The opening 45 minutes of the match lacked excitement but with just seconds of first half remaining, Dybala's magical free-kick sent Juve supporters into a frenzy. His left-footed strike from a seemingly impossible angle left Slovenian Jan Oblak helpless in the Atletico net.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been hobbled by a knee problem, avoided taking any free kicks and had a quiet game for Juventus.

The five-time Ballon d'Or victor played the full 90 minutes and scored his 99th goal for Portugal while on worldwide duty in a 2-0 win over Luxembourg that sealed his country's place at Euro 2020.

And it's not just free kicks Ronaldo has to worry about.

Manager Maurizio Sarri lauded Dybala for his performance against Atletico and called the Juventus forward a "World Class" player and the "Difference Maker".

"A goal is a goal, of course, but I like nothing more than to provide an assist".

Atletico continued to carve out chances after halftime but Matthijs de Ligt held the Juventus defence together and the Dutchman made a superb last-ditch tackle to deny Angel Correa a clear shot on goal.

"I'm doing my best in order to make them better and I will not change that mentality".

Juventus have 13 points from five games, with Atletico still on seven, one point ahead of third-placed Bayer Leverkusen who beat Lokomotiv 2-0.

Speaking of stunners? Paulo Dybala aced the cards, with an unworldly set-piece against Atletico Madrid, to earn Juve all three points in Tuesday's Champions League encounter.