The folks who run the production side over at SB Nation recently upgraded their photo search tool. That, in turn, gives us folks who author post after post on a daily basis a much bigger selection of pictures, many of which we haven't able to use or even see, well, ever. We can go back years, find cool photos we've never had access to and then show them off to all of you faithful readers.
Recent photos of Andrea Barzagli in Juventus' most recent edition of their fabled black and white stripes don't exist. For that matter, pictures of Barzagli in a Juve jersey can't be found unless you're looking in the May 2014 edition of the photo tool.
Barzagli hasn't been seen in an official game since Italy were crashing out of the World Cup in Brazil. It's been even longer since he wore a Juventus jersey in a match (the 1-0 win over Roma at the Olimpico last May). No photo options for the man who cost so little yet has meant so much to Juventus' rebirth — and we don't know when the next chance to see Barzagli in black and white will be.
Gazzetta say Barzagli won't be back until at least mid-February. He's been out since June and is looking more and more like Simone Pepe...— Mike Mac (@mikemacaroni) December 29, 2014
The non-emoji reaction is that it's pretty dang hard to come close to disagreeing at this point. Barzagli missed a large chunk of last season, has yet to play in the current campaign, and the rumored date of his return keeps getting pushed back time and time again more than a baseball game in a classic rain delay.
First it was the original diagnosis of three months after surgery in July. Then it was pushed back. Then pushed back again. Now it's to the point where the Barzagli-related medical updates are few and far between.
So basically we're left to wait.
I sure hope you're all comfortable, folks.
But with as many games, weeks and months as Barzagli has missed over the last season or so, it's hard to be all that patient at this point. Not to any fault of Barzagli himself, though. It's not like he's sitting in the Juventus training room right now just absolutely cursing his physical ailments on purpose. There's only so much he can do as he attempts to recover from the handful of setbacks he's dealt with over the last 18 months.
Barzagli isn't young — he'll turn 34 years old in early May. It's not like time is suddenly going to be on his side whenever he does get completely healthy. Yet the matter of getting 100 percent fit is still to be determined.
He's obviously isn't the only Juventus player to get injured this season. Nor will he be the last. But even with Juventus having the best defense in Serie A — again — this season, seeing Barzagli not included in the team sheet week after week is still tough to wrap my head around. To go from one of the best yet still vastly underrated defenders in all of Europe to a player who may or may not be back in a month or two must be
Thank goodness Martín Cáceres is around to fill the awesomeness void.
Oh, wait, he's currently hurt, too.
Thank goodness Leonardo Bonucci and Angelo Ogbonna are around and playing quite well this season. There, that's a little better than talking about more injuries to central defenders.
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