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UEFA Europa League: Antonio Conte rules out Arturo Vidal for Juventus' first leg against Benfica

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Maurizio Lagana

There were two players we were basically waiting on pins and needles to hear the health statuses of — midfielder Arturo Vidal and striker Carlos Tévez. Two players, two different injuries, two important pieces in the Juventus puzzle whose respective statuses were somewhat unknown heading into Juve's first leg against Benfica Thursday night.

Luckily for us, we got the answer at Antonio Conte's pre-match press conference on Wednesday. Some of it good news, some of it not-so-good news. You can be the final judge of that, though, people.

"Carlos is back training normally with the group, but I'll wait until tomorrow before deciding whether he'll start or not. Arturo, on the other hand, is unavailable. He'll rest up over the next few days and we hope he'll be back within the week."

(Source: juventus.com)

Well. There's the answer. No messing around. (Although we had to scroll to the bottom of the page on Juve's website to find the answer to what we wanted, but that's just nitpicking at this point in time.)

In one respect, it's a good thing because we know that Vidal isn't going to be risked against Benfica on Thursday night. It's a sign that his injury is still there, still bothering him, and Conte isn't going to take any risks even though it's a rather important game on the European stage against a rather talented opponent.

But on the other hand, it's a tough blow considering how important Vidal is to this Juventus team. Can they survive without him? Absolutely, they've proven that before. But on his day, Vidal is capable is taking over a game seemingly on his own. And against a very good side like Benfica is, a finalist in the Europa League last season, it sure would have been nice to know the squad is at full strength.

Because there won't be any Vidal on the field — even though he traveled with the squad to Portugal on Wednesday — something tells me the microscope will be on Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio. Just a hunch. I don't know why...