Madrid: Radomir Antic of Serbia, former coach of Spain’s top teams Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona, said Cristiano Ronaldo was feeling relaxed after joining Juventus last summer.
Ronaldo shifted to Juventus after spending nine years at Real Madrid.
“I see him enjoying himself. He takes more active part in the play, also he is given freedom to move, making the most of his speed through spaces,” Antic said of the Portugal superstar in an exclusive interview to Efe news.
“He has got over his nervousness, becoming the reference point for Juventus’ attack,” Antic said.
Ronaldo is playing with Juve’s Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic in harmony, he said and added the Croatian has played in attacking positions, forging a creative link with the famed striker.
“Juventus has recovered all its players,” Antic said. “I don’t like to talk about favourites or give percentages. The fact is Juve comes in better form.”
Antic said Juventus would reach the first leg of the UEFA Champions League last-16 tie in better form than host Atletico.
Atleti is set to play Juventus on Wednesday at the Spanish side’s home pitch, the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid.
Antic, 70, led Atletico Madrid in three different tenures, the most successful of which was when he led the team to win the 1995-96 seasons of La Liga and the Copa del Rey.
When asked why he seemed pessimistic regarding Atletico’s chances in the Champions League tie with Juve, Antic said he was not pessimistic but analysing the current shape of both teams.
“Atletico has been suffering from injuries during the whole season,” Antic said. “I believe they have had 35 injuries in the season, which is a lot.”
The Serbian coach said Atletico had managed to “defeat Rayo on Saturday, but the team did not play well.”
As for the Atleti, Antic said Spanish striker Diego Costa was an important player for the club. However, Costa was injured and out of form.