As Claudio Marchisio walked off the Olimpico field, Sunday night you could tell he knew something was up. It wasn't the slamming of his shin guards onto the turf, it was the look on his face. Something just wasn't sitting right physically and Principino knew it from the moment of impact.
Turns out, he was.
After coming off midway through the first half in Juventus' 4-0 Supercoppa beatdown of Lazio, Marchisio was diagnosed with a first-second degree tear of his medial collateral ligament 24 hours later, according to a statement released by the club. The recovery time? About 30 to 35 days, which basically puts him on track to return around the end of September or early October if he wants to really take his time.
What do we say now?
I think it's pretty easy to figure out: Thank God for Paul Pogba being on Juventus' roster.
Yeah, no inside information needed on this one.
This is the luxury that Antonio Conte currently has. One of the best midfielders in Serie A gets hurt, another one can slide right on in and his team won't miss a beat. That's not the hope, that's the truth. Obviously the Supercoppa was just another example of what we saw all whenever Pogba came into the team as a teenager last season. His goals were awesome, his demeanor was that of a 10-year veteran, his skills were something that made you think something truly special was right in front of your very eyes.
While the discussion has been Marchisio vs. Pogba the past 24 hours and change since the news came out regarding how long the former would be out for, the next will be about how much of an impact Pogba can make during his extended time as a starter. Pogba was going to get playing time no matter what this year — be it through Conte rotating his squad, filling in for an injury like he will be the next month, or for somebody who gets suspended.
The reality is, though, Pogba will be part of Juventus' starting lineup for the next month or however long it takes for Marchisio to return. Juve will certainly be busy once the season opens in just a few times against Sampdoria. There's the challenging start to the Serie A schedule that begins this Saturday and the opening of the Champions League. Pogba's as cool as it gets for somebody who is still 20 years old, so there's no reason to think he can't challenge any of it.
And while it sucks to lose somebody like Marchisio for a good amount of time with so many important games to begin the season like Juve are dealt with, having a Paul Pogba coming off the bench is something a lot of clubs with they had, but only one can say it's a reality.
(Maybe there's a Sir Alex joke in there somewhere. You can decide that one.)