Cristiano Ronaldo said it was “an honour” to play under Andrea Pirlo as he sent a farewell message to the Juventus legend.
Pirlo was sacked as Juve boss after just one season in the hotseat, with Maxi Allegri returning to take charge of the Serie A giants.
But Ronaldo, who finished as Serie A’s top goalscorer with 29 goals this season, has sent the former midfielder a message of thanks.
“Thank you Maestro, it was an honour to be coached by you,” Ronaldo posted on his Instagram story, along with a picture of he and Pirlo shaking hands.
Pirlo guided Juventus to Champions League qualification on the final day of the season, with a win at Bologna securing fourth place at the expense of Napoli.
He also led them to the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italia, adding to the haul of trophies he won with the club as a player.
But the former playmaker paid the price after Juve crashed out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage, while also failing to extend their nine-year reign at the top of Serie A.
Doubts have also been raised over whether Ronaldo has a future in Turin, amid claims Allegri doesn’t want the five-time Ballon d’Or winner at the Allianz Stadium next season.
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The Spanish publication claims Ronaldo would have left the Italian giants had they not secured Champions League football – but is now considering his next move regardless of the qualification for Europe’s elite competition.
Ronaldo is said to be in a period of ‘reflection’ and a return to Old Trafford is attracting the 36-year-old to the point where it has now become his priority.
The forward has one-year left on his current deal and has never ruled out a return to United, where he transformed into an elite star.
Ronaldo scored 118 times in 292 appearances for the Red Devils before making an £80m move to Real Madrid in 2009.
There has been plenty of speculation he could join Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this summer – while Paul Pogba could be going in the opposite direction.
Juventus are eyeing a ‘dream’ return for Pogba after rehiring Allegri, according to CalcioMercato.
The publication reports that Juventus have a number of targets, but signing Pogba back would be ‘the real dream’.
United bosses are set for talks with Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola over the midfielder’s future, according to the Daily Star.
The 28-year-old is entering the final year of his contract and Raiola is said to want £500,000 a week for his client to sign a new deal.
But United won’t go that high, and if a compromise can’t be agreed, would be prepared to sell him rather than lose him for nothing next summer.