Andrea Pirlo and Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at Juventus despite hopes of a 10th successive Scudetto lying in tatters, according to club director Fabio Paratici.
A shock 1-0 home defeat to lowly Benevento on Sunday was a result to leave even the most optimistic Juventus supporter fearing the long reign as league champions is coming to an end.
Trailing Inter by 10 points, the Benevento game was a chance to chip away at that lead, but Arthur’s dire pass across the Juventus penalty area midway through the second half was seized upon by Adolfo Gaich for the game’s only goal.
Ronaldo had nine attempts at goal, hitting the target four times, but Juventus could not find a way past goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo.
Pirlo, appointed to coach Juventus this season in his first senior post, has seen his side knocked out of the Champions League by Porto and almost certainly hustled out of the Serie A title race inside the past fortnight.
“This is not a game that changes our ideas”
But Paratici, managing director of the club’s football department, insists Pirlo remains the man Juventus want as their leader.
He told Sky Sport Italia: “This is not a game that changes our ideas, let’s go our own way. This route continues. We are very convinced of what we are doing, let’s stay on this path.
“We weren’t dissatisfied with the previous coaches. There were different reasons why we changed, that’s it. It is not a win or a loss that determines a club’s course.
“When you have a clear idea of where you want to go, you have to follow the route. We will see at the end if it is correct.”
Asked about Ronaldo, who has been linked with his former clubs Real Madrid and Manchester United, Paratici said: “We have Ronaldo, he is the best in the world and we are holding on to him.”
Ronaldo was presented with a shirt marked ‘G.O.A.T. 770′ by chairman Andrea Agnelli before the game, denoting Juventus’ belief they have the ‘greatest of all time’ at the club, and reflecting his achievement in reaching 770 career goals with his hat-trick against Cagliari last Sunday.
Ronaldo said Pele acknowledged that took him past the Brazil great’s career haul in competitive matches for a new world record.
Paratici dismissed talk of this being a season of ‘transition’, saying: “For Juventus this word does not exist.”