Ronaldo given assurances by Pirlo in phone call with new Juventus manager

Andrea Pirlo has already contacted Cristiano Ronaldo as the new Juventus boss looks to put the forward at ease in Turin.

The Bianconeri legend replaced Maurizio Sarri who was axed following their Champions League exit.

Pirlo's first job in management comes with considerable challenges and if he is to be a success he will need Ronaldo firing on all cylinders.

The Portuguese star has copped his fair share of criticism in recent weeks with reports suggesting Juventus want to offload the 35-year-old.

But Pirlo has taken the time to phone the five-time Ballon D'Or winner and assure him that he remains vital to his plans in Italy.

Gazzetta dello Sport understands that Ronaldo will be given greater freedom in the final third and they will also seek to relieve him of defensive duties.

Juventus are in the market for a new striker with Gonzalo Higuain past his best.

Arsenal frontman Alexandra Lacazette, who has played second fiddle to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, is on their radar.

Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik and Edin Dzeko at Roma are two of the other names to be linked with a switch to the Allianz Stadium.

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Ronaldo again lead the goalscoring charts for Juventus last season and has now scored 65 times in 89 appearances during his two years at the club.

He is set to play under his third different manager in three seasons with Pirlo given a vote of confidence by club chief Fabio Paratici despite his lack of experience.

"The decision for Pirlo was very natural, in the Juventus style, because he is someone who played for us, has always been in contact with everyone here and it felt natural," he said.

"We also believe he is pre-destined for greatness. He was as a player and we are confident he can do the same as a coach."

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