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Gone-aldo? Cristiano Ronaldo ‘asks to be benched’ for Juventus Serie A opener as rumors swirl of impending exit

Gone-aldo? Cristiano Ronaldo ‘asks to be benched’ for Juventus Serie A opener as rumors swirl of impending exit
Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped to the bench for Juventus' Serie A opener with Udinese on Sunday with speculation suggesting this was at the player's request as he attempts to seek a move away from the Italian giants.

Ronaldo was named to the substitutes' bench for Max Allegri's official return to the Juventus dugout on Sunday with the Italian opting for Spanish forward Alvaro Morata to lead the line, and leaving the club's prized (and most expensive) asset on the sidelines.

Ronaldo has been a near mainstay in the Juventus team since he joined the club three years ago, missing just 17 Serie A matches during his span with the club and scoring an impressive 81 goals in those 97 league appearances.

His absence on Sunday, though, doesn't appear to be a tactical or a lack-of-fitness issue, with reports from Italy indicating that Ronaldo personally requested that he be excused from the starting XI and is seeking an exit from the club in the coming days.

The report, which came from Italian transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, also states that Juventus have not received any official bids for the player as of yet, but rumors in the media have linked the Portuguese great with an almost inconceivable transfer to Paris Saint-Germain where he would link up with his greatest rival, Lionel Messi.

There have also been suggestions Ronaldo has been offered to Manchester City by his agent Jorge Mendes, while speculation has also swirled over a possible return to Real Madrid or Manchester United. 

These latest suggestions that Ronaldo is seeking his exit strategy from Serie A comes just a day after Allegri told the media that his star player had affirmed that he would remain a Juventus player for the forthcoming campaign.

"[Ronaldo] has never expressed a desire to leave," he said. "He has told me that he's staying, so we can clear that one up."

Despite Allegri's assurances, Ronaldo stoked many of these rumors himself when he released a lengthy statement to social media in recent days amid reports that a return to Real Madrid was on the cards, in which he said that the "frivolous way that my future is covered in the media is disrespectful to all the clubs involved in these rumours, as well as to their players and staff. 

"I remain focused on my career and in my work, committed and prepared for all the challenges that I have to face. Everything else? Everything else is just talk," he added.

Except, maybe this time it is Ronaldo himself who is doing the talking?

Also on rt.com ‘Ronaldo told me he is STAYING’: Juventus boss Allegri dismisses Cristiano speculation after links to PSG, Man City & Real Madrid