Cristiano Ronaldo has not been included in the Juventus squad for their Serie A clash with Benevento, with manager Andrea Pirlo describing it as a pre-planned absence.

At 35, Ronaldo is in the later stages of his career and Juventus are careful to manage his workload.

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Ronaldo has had a busy time in recent weeks, with his game time increased by three appearances for Portugal during the recent international break.

Following the international break, Ronaldo was on target twice in the victory over Cagliari in Serie A and also found the scoresheet in the 2-1 win over Ferencvaros in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Due to the condensed nature of the season, there is no let-up in the fixture list and Juve feel the trip to Benevento on Sunday is an opportune time to pull him from the line of fire.

"Cristiano Ronaldo will take an agreed rest session because he was a bit tired after so many games," Pirlo told Juventus TV. "It was planned that he would not come to Benevento."

Pirlo may well have an eye on next week’s Champions League clash with Dynamo Kiev.

Juve have already qualified for the knockout stages, but will likely need to win their final two games - against Dynamo and group leaders Barcelona - if they are to stand any chance of landing top spot and a more favourable tie in the first knockout round.

A positive for Pirlo is that Leonardo Bonucci is available once again. The defender has not featured for the club since the 1-1 draw with Lazio on November 8, but trained this week and is in the travelling party to Benevento.

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