Cristiano Ronaldo has been criticised by Fabio Capello for an “unforgivable mistake” as Juventus were eliminated from the Champions League by Porto.
The Old Lady were dumped out of Europe’s elite competition on Tuesday as their 3-2 victory after extra-time in Turin saw Porto qualify for the quarter-finals on away goals with the tie level at 4-4 on aggregate.
On a rollercoaster night at Allianz Stadium, Juve were left with an uphill battle after Sergio Oliveira’s 19th-minute penalty had Porto 3-1 up in the tie, before a brace from Federico Chiesa early in the second half initially spared the hosts.
That was enough to take the game to extra-time – Mehdi Taremi’s sending off in the 54th minute seemingly giving Andrea Pirlo’s men the edge – but an Oliveira free-kick made it 2-2 on the day and gave Juve too much to do despite Adrien Rabiot’s header two minutes later.
Oliveira’s decisive strike went straight through the Juve wall, with the ball going between Ronaldo’s legs as he sheepishly turned his back on the effort, and former Bianconeri boss Capello was infuriated.
“Cristiano Ronaldo then cannot go in the wall like this,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
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“Whoever is in the wall should not be afraid of the ball, but they must be aware that they can be hit by it.
“He turned around and this is an unforgivable mistake that has no excuses. It was a very serious mistake.”
Capello then castigated the so-called leaders in the Juve dressing room, pointing the finger at them for not coming out to face the media and explain themselves, with Chiesa and Matthijs de Ligt the individuals who took part in post-match duties.
“At certain moments the captain and the elders have to show their faces,” he said. “Instead they sent Chiesa. They [the “elders”] showed up when they won the games.”
Elimination left Andrea Pirlo’s tenure with a poor outlook only worsened by their fortunes in Serie A, with the defending champions 10 points adrift of leaders Inter – even if they win their game in hand, the Old Lady will have a significant gap to claw back.
Capello now suspects the Juve hierarchy regret ushering Massimiliano Allegri out the door in 2019.
“The much-maligned Allegri won championships and made two Champions League finals and what he did was never highlighted,” Capello continued.
“It was said that there was a need for a different brand of football, but when you try to do different things you often go towards things that are not always pleasant and positive.”