When we first heard that Mario Mandzukic was injured, the first thought was that we’d see him miss a game or two and then we’ll all just reassess things after the Supercoppa next Wednesday night against AC Milan.
Two days later and as Juventus are just hours away from opening their latest defense of their latest Coppa Italia title, one of Italy’s biggest media outlets is reporting that Mandzukic’s injury could have him out for more than just a couple of days or weeks.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport — via VecchiaSignora.com — has reported Saturday morning that Mandzukic, Juventus’ second-leading goal scorer this season, could very well miss a month due to the thigh injury he picked up during a training session earlier in the week. There has been no official timetable announced by Juventus in relation to the injury — that seems to be happening less and less often, doesn’t it? — other than what we heard in Thursday’s training session recap when it was first revealed that Mandzukic had gotten injured.
The biggest concern with Mandzukic reportedly set to miss the next month is just how long that actually equates to and how it could very well impact Juve’s Champions League Round of 16 tie against Atletico Madrid in late-February. If it’s truly a month max, then there’s a good possibility that Mandzukic returns to face his former side when the two teams face one another in the first leg in Madrid on Wednesday, Feb. 20. However, it goes any longer than a month (or four weeks), then there’s the obvious risk of Mandzukic missing the first leg against Atleti.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how Allegri apporaches it. Does this mean more playing time for Douglas Costa or Federico Bernardeschi if Allegri plans to stay a 4-3-3-ish (or 4-3-1-2) kind of formation? Does this mean Cristiano Ronaldo will move infield and play a more central position? Or does this give an opening for Moise Kean to actually play somewhat consistent minutes since he’s basically the only other natural prima punta that Juve have available to them right now?
Question: How is Mario Mandzukic?— Forza Juventus (@ForzaJuve2017) January 11, 2019
Massimiliano Allegri: "As Mario says: NO GOOD!
Either way, this isn’t good for Mr. No Good. And you know for a fact that he’s going to be a grump about potentially missing the next month or so.