After the Juventus superstar spurned a chance to give the Serie A champions a valuable win from the penalty spot against Atalanta, Andrea Pirlo gave Cristiano Ronaldo his backing. In Wednesday’s 1-1 draw, Ronaldo saw his 61st-minute spot-kick smothered by Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini as Juve missed the chance to make up ground on Milan’s unbeaten Serie A champions.

Federico Chiesa had just shot Juve into a 29th-minute lead to see his amazing long-range effort canceled out by the powerful strike of Remo Freuler to pull the visitors close to the hour mark.

As Hans Hateboer brought down Chiesa four minutes later, Ronaldo, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, stepped up from 12 yards and slotted the ball into Gollini’s diving arms. Ronaldo has now failed to score four of the Bianconeri’s 30 penalties, but the Juve legend and head coach Pirlo did not hesitate to laud the effort of his striker.

“It was not an easy game but he did well,” Pirlo told post-match reporters.

“Some judgments would have changed if he scored his penalty. He did what he had to, maybe not as brilliant as normal, but he is a champion and champions often miss penalties.”


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