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Marotta: ‘Juve Among Champions League Favourites’

Beppe Marotta said Juventus “mustn’t hide from” their status as Champions League favourites, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence was “a personal decision.”

The Bianconeri certainly have a fascinating group, taking on Paul Pogba’s Manchester United, Spaniards Valencia and Swiss side Young Boys.

“The comments at this stage are always the same, people say it’s a simple enough group, but it always depends on us,” director Marotta told Sky Sport Italia.

“From motivation to the determination we must count on to face opponents, regardless of their prestige, it’s always down to us. This is a tournament where a single result can be decisive, so we can never relax.”

Juve are considered among the favourites to win the Champions League after signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.

“I don’t know if we are the favourites, but we are among the favourites and mustn’t hide from that. The Ronaldo move was extraordinary, fought for personally by (President Andrea) Agnelli.

“We wanted to raise the quality level of the squad so that we could achieve what is apparently a dream, but we hope can become a reality.”

Ronaldo was expected in Monte Carlo for the ceremony, where he was to receive the award for Forward of the Season.

However, he didn’t turn up and some suggest the fact Luka Modric won the overall Champions League Player of the Season award weighed on his decision.

“I can say it was a personal decision not to come and he made it earlier today,” confirmed Marotta.

“We want to respect that. As far as we are concerned, we are profoundly disappointed that he did not receive the trophy. This is for performances in the Champions League and not the World Cup, so we maintain Ronaldo deserved it more.

“I take nothing away from the decision of the jury, but if I had voted, I would’ve voted for Ronaldo. I don’t say that because he is our player, but as a lover of football.”