As the week began, we figured there would be a couple of training sessions, a couple of press conferences, and then Juventus would step onto the field Saturday night to try and win the Champions League for the first time in 12 years. Simple as simple gets, really. It's hard to draw things up any better than that.
But as we found out early on Thursday, we can't always have things go the way we want them.
All the usual and expected suspects have been called up by Juventus manager Max Allegri for Saturday night's Champions League final against Barcelona in Berlin. Well, all of those usual and expected folks were called up who aren't named Giorgio Chiellini. That's because Juventus' top brute-force defender won't be taking part in Saturday night's grand finale because of a left calf injury he sustained in training on Wednesday.
Here's the full post from Juventus' official website:
Massimiliano Allegri has named a 22-man squad for Saturday evening's Champions League final against Barcelona at Berlin's Olympiastadion.
Giorgio Chiellini, who earlier today was officially ruled out of the game following tests on an injured calf, will travel with the squad regardless.
The full list is as follows:
17 De Ceglie
Chiellini is obviously the suddenly-glaring and biggest absence because of when he got hurt and the magnitude of the game he will suddenly be missing. No matter what you think about Chiellini's form or how big of a loss he will truly end up being, having a starting defender with so much experience suddenly be unavailable to due an injury is a massive hit.
Of course, there are the other injury-related absences, too. There's no Romulo and Martin Cáceres because of their respective injuries that have seen them sidelined for weeks and weeks and weeks. Kwadwo Asamoah isn't called up simply because he hasn't been included on the UEFA list since he injured his knee late in the calendar year of 2014. Those players not being included in the match squad for Barcelona were a given. The same can't be said for that of Chiellini when preparations for Saturday night's final got underway.