When Andrea Barzagli was subbed off and replaced by Leonardo Bonucci at halftime of Juventus' 3-1 win over Napoli on Saturday, I had the line of thinking that it was just to give each defender a little bit of work and that would be that. Nothing to fear, really, just a manager taking advantage of the chance to play a couple of players a decent amount of minutes, but not too many minutes with a couple days off on the horizon.
Turns out, it was for a completely different reason.
Andrea Barzagli is to be checked over by the club's medical staff after reporting some discomfort in the rectus femoris muscle of his right thigh.
That is the short and somewhat worrisome word from Juventus' official website on Sunday, part of a two-paragraph post that says Max Allegri has given his team three days off after their win over Napoli 24 hours prior. Nothing more, really — which makes sense considering the tests haven't been conducted yet.
When the tests go down, then we'll know more about just how long Barzagli will potentially be out for.
Until then, we're left to wonder just what kind of injury rehabilitation timetable there will possibly be or if Barzagli will miss any time at all. Of course, if he's out for the Serie A final next weekend against Hellas Verona, that's not all that big of a deal. That's just the luxury of having won the Scudetto weeks ago and playing the last handful of games with little pressure attached to them.
But the big thing riding on this sudden injury news is Barzagli's status for the Champions League final against Barcelona in just under two weeks. That one has a bit more importance than the game against Hellas Verona, right? Yeah...
If Barzagli isn't ready by the time Juventus makes the trip to Berlin to face Messi, Neymar, Suarez and the rest of the talented Barca roster, then one of Max Allegri's biggest assets will be missing out. We've seen Barzagli be the starting right-center back in a 3-5-2 or come in to act like a closer-type player as Allegri switches from four-man defense to three-man backline in the second half.
I guess now we just play the waiting game. I hate waiting games.