When it was announced Andrea Barzagli underwent offseason surgery on his bothersome right heel, it was a foregone formality that the 33-year-old defender would miss the first few weeks of the 2014-15 season. Maybe a few weeks here and there, but Barzagli would be back in the starting lineup sooner rather than later once the Serie A season got underway in late August.
What we didn't expect, however, was Barzagli going beyond the projected time of return.
As Friday's Gazzetta dello Sport states, there's a good reason as to why one of Juventus' most consistent players over the last three-plus years has yet to make his first appearance this season. Barzagli has reportedly suffered a setback in his quest for full fitness, thus the reason why he hasn't been included in any match day squads since Juve's win over Udinese back on Sept. 13.
So much for that mid-September return, huh?
The pink daily reports that Barzagli in fact suffered a relapse in his recovery after that Udinese fixture and his recuperation has been hit by persistent pain in his right ankle.
(Source: Football Italia)
While updating us on the conditions of Martín Cáceres and Álvaro Morata after they both suffered injuries in the 1-0 loss to Atlético Madrid, Juventus' official website had this piece of information on Barzagli:
On the injury front, Andrea Barzagli was absent from the group as he is still recovering from pain in his right heel which was operated on in the summer. He will visit a specialist in the next few days.
So, Barzagli's not training with the main group and going to see a specialist in the next couple of days. That's not exactly the kind of development that would be classified as "good news."
Luckily for us, Cáceres has been a damn good replacement for Barzagli in the starting lineup, so it's not like the right side of Juventus' back three has turned into a black hole or anything. But at the same time, having Barzagli injured for another substantial amount of time might keep Max Allegri from a potential switch to a four-man defense. That could just be me thinking out loud here, who knows. We'll see what happens. And hopefully this separated shoulder Cáceres is dealing with doesn't linger long at all. The last thing we need is Juventus heading into another busy portion of the schedule stretched as thin as they are right now when it comes to available central defenders.
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