Andrea Pirlo claims Cristiano Ronaldo is chomping at the bit to help Juventus rescue their Champions League clash with Porto tonight.
Having seen his troops fall to a 2-1 defeat in the first leg at Estadio do Dragao last month, Pirlo knows a strong performance will be needed if the Old Lady are to avoid a last-16 exit in Europe for a second consecutive season.
With one eye on this evening’s encounter, Ronaldo, 36, was rested for the first hour of Saturday’s 3-1 Serie A win over Lazio — a decision the Juve boss believes will prove to be a wise move.
Pirlo said: "Cristiano (pictured above) is fine — these are his matches. He's fired up, he's been able to rest and now can't wait to help the team.
"When you give the ball to him, something can always happen and often you start 1-0 up with him on the field.
"This rest was agreed during the week because he had played so many consecutive games and needed to rest."
Often you start 1-0 up with him on the field Andrea Pirlo on Cristiano Ronaldo
Despite Federico Chiesa’s late strike for the Italian champions, goals from Mehdi Taremi and Moussa Marega mean Porto arrive at the Juventus Stadium with a golden opportunity to make only their third quarter-final in 11 years.
Sergio Conceicao’s men trail Sporting Lisbon by 10 points in the Primeira Liga and were dumped out of the Taca de Portugal by Braga last week in what has been a disappointing domestic campaign.
But the visiting boss remains confident his side can finish the job in Turin.
Conceicao, 46, said: "We’ll have the same approach of the last game. We want a positive result.
"Juventus invested a lot of money to win this competition but we want to play a game that reflects our identity.
"We have played many games this season and some players are a doubt at the moment. But us coaches are here to find solutions."
Although Ronaldo will return, the hosts are sweating over the fitness of skipper Giorgio Chiellini (muscle) and Paulo Dybala (knee), while Matthijs de Ligt (muscle) is also a doubt.
Porto are without Chance Mbemba (muscle), Jesus Corona and Francisco Meixedo (coronavirus), although Pepe should return from a knock.
Did you know?
Despite inconsistency in both camps this term, Juve have won seven straight Serie A clashes at home, while Porto are unbeaten in eight Primeira Liga away games.
Porto are winless in their previous 13 away games in the Champions League knockout phase, with their last such win coming all the way back in 2004 against Deportivo La Coruna.
Ronaldo has scored 10 goals in 10 home games for Juve in the Champions League. Since he joined the club, only Lionel Messi (14) has netted more goals in home games in that period.