A meticulous system-oriented tactician, Sarri admitted that the Portuguese superstar is an exception.
Recognising the five-time Ballon d’Or winner as the team’s best player, the Italian believes he must be afforded certain liberties on the pitch to produce his best.
“Cristiano is the best player of our team of course, so I think that we have to organise very well,” Sarri said after a 3-2 pre-season friendly defeat to Tottenham.
“The other ten [players] are for the defensive phase, but Cristiano can go everywhere on the pitch, he is the best player, and I think that for him it’s very important to be free on the pitch.”
Cristiano Ronaldo hailed a job well done after Portugal’s Nations League final victory over the Netherlands in Porto.
Goncalo Guedes scored the only goal to make sure the hosts were crowned the first champions of UEFA’s latest international competition.
Ronaldo’s stunning hat-trick saw off Switzerland 3-1 on Wednesday and earned Portugal their place in the final.
And although the captain and talisman did not score against the Dutch, he said afterwards: “I’m very happy.
“It is a very important trophy for all of Portugal and for the national team.”
The triumph means Portugal can add the Nations League to the European Championship success of three years ago.
Ronaldo is proud of the strides his country has made in recent years, adding: “Since 2016 Portugal has changed their history and won a trophy again.
“The goal for this match was to win and to play well.”
The 34-year-old Juventus forward added: “For sure this national team will be even better and the younger players will play more.”
Napoli boss Ancelotti managed Ronaldo at Real Madrid, where the duo led the club to the 2014 Champions League title, setting of a period of unprecedented success in the competition as Los Blancos went on to lift the trophy four times in five seasons, though the last three came after Ancelotti left the club.
The Italian has retained his admiration for his former player, and says the 19-year-old Kean will benefit from playing alongside Ronaldo for the next five to six seasons. Ronaldo recently turned 34 but has previously said he could play until he’s 40, or beyond, an assessment supported by Ancelotti.
“His beginning of the year was amazing and there’s been careful management of the player, on and off the field,” Ancelotti said of Kean, as reported by Goal.
“He has the good fortune of training with a phenomenon of the calibre of Cristiano.
“He’ll play up to 40 years old because he not only has a great physique but he has the intelligence, the strength and the determination to improve every day.”
Ronaldo’s current contract at Juventus runs until 2022, which would take him to 37 in a league that has usually been kinder than the rest of Europe’s top five leagues for veteran players – though the former Manchester United star was planning to continue his career into the 40s long before he moved to the Serie A.
“When I renewed my contract I said I’d still be playing when I’m 41 – it was meant half-jokingly and half-seriously,” Ronaldo had said back in 2017, when he was still at Madrid. “If I feel good, without any injuries and I am still motivated, I’ll play until I’m 35, 41 or 45. I don’t know.”