Andrea Pirlo came out bullish when asked about the European Super League, insisting that Juventus are not scared of possible UEFA sanctions.
Juve were one of 12 leading European clubs to announce their intention to form a breakaway, closed-shop competition.
The news caused anger and furore across the continent, with all six English clubs involved electing to withdraw on Tuesday amid mounting pressure from fans, the media, politicians and governing bodies.
Despite the majority of the 12 clubs having pulled out, Juve – whose chairman Andrea Agnelli was one of the major players in the proposals – have not yet done so, while Barcelona and Real Madrid have also stayed in.
Madrid president Florentino Perez has been on the defensive all week, and as recently as Saturday told AS that the Super League teams were giving themselves time to reflect on the proposal.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has again reiterated that if Juve, Barca and Madrid fail to withdraw, then they could face suspension from the Champions League.
However, when asked if Juve were afraid of UEFA’s threats, Pirlo – who was previewing Sunday’s Serie A meeting with Fiorentina – replied: “We are not scared, we are comfortable that we can end the season pursuing our own objectives. We are okay regardless of the decisions UEFA will make.”
Of Agnelli, Pirlo added: “I saw him as being serene. I believe it is normal many people talk about him, but he knows what he has to do and always encourages the team when he visits us during the training sessions.
“The environment now is positive. We want to finish the season in the best way. After losing the title and the Champions League, our main target is to get a spot in Champions League.
“This is a must. We must be calm, but we must be fully focused for our ultimate objective.”
One player certain to be crucial to Juve securing Champions League football is Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 36-year-old has scored 25 times in Serie A this term, while he has netted three goals against Fiorentina during his time with Juve – all of them coming from the spot.
“For me this is the first year [managing Ronaldo], I have a great relationship with him,” Pirlo said when asked if it was difficult to handle Ronaldo’s ego.
“He is a player who always wants to do well, he gets angry even when he loses minor games.
“When someone always wants to be at his best, I believe it is normal to have these kinds of attitudes. He always wants to win and is keen to help the team at all the time. This is a very positive side of him.”