A fan does two things during the international break. First, they root for whatever national team they follow. Second, they hope that none of their favorite club’s important players pick up any injuries.
So Juventini were likely sweating a little bit when images surfaced yesterday of Paulo Dybala applying ice packs to his right leg.
Dybala had started Argentina’s prestige friendly against Brazil in Saudi Arabia, but was replaced by Lautaro Martinez on 57 minutes and quickly met on the bench by the Argentine training staff, who applied ice packs to his knee.
With Dybala starting to heat up and develop some chemistry with Juve’s new-look front line after a slow start to the season, this is perhaps the worst possible time for him to miss time. That’s doubly so considering the team’s looming back-to-back tilts with Manchester United in the Champions League.
Dybala will return to Turin and undergo tests, and it’s unlikely we’ll know much about the details of the injury until Thursday or even Massimiliano Allegri’s pre-match press conference on Friday. The good news, though, is that the initial reaction to the injury is that it is relatively minor.
At this point, it’s likely safe to assume that at the very least he’ll be unavailable for Saturday’s game against Genoa. He likely would have been a candidate to be rested over the weekend anyway—Allegri tends to rest his South American players after international breaks given the long-haul travel they have to endure. Whether or not that would have applied here, given the fact that Argentina was touring Saudi Arabia this time around, is something to consider, but with a much bigger game coming up midweek, it’s difficult to see Dybala going at the Allianz on Saturday.
Allegri will have plenty of options to replace him, including Douglas Costa, who will be back in the fold after serving his four-game suspension for the Federico Di Francesco incident. He’s probably a good bet for a starting shirt, as Federico Bernardeschi is coming off two matches for Italy and might be a candidate for a rest of his own.
At the moment, it looks like Dybala won’t be absent for long, but we’ll certainly know more in the days to come. Watch this space for updates.