When healthy, Barbara Bonansea and Cecilia Salvai are mainstays in Juventus Women manager Rita Guarino’s starting lineup. They’re the easy picks, and it makes sense since they’re two of the side’s most consistent and important players.
The problem has been, for the better part of the last seven or eight months, one or both of Bonansea and Salvai have been spending much more time rehabbing from their injuries rather than helping Juventus win games on the field.
That was until Thursday.
All of two days before Juventus Women’s top-of-the-table showdown with AC Milan, both Bonansea and Salvai returned to training — or, at least part of it — with the rest of the team. It’s the first time since the final weeks of the summer since either of them took part in a training session that didn’t involve “rehab” being attached to it.
You think their teammates were happy that they’re both back in training?
Yeah, I think they’re happy. And it’s not just the social media profile of Martina Rosucci — who herself dealt with a lengthy injury absence after major knee surgery most of last season — that had that kind of message. Bonansea and Salvai were welcomed back with about every open arm that was humanly possible at Vinovo on Thursday.
Bonansea, who has been counting the days of recovery since she broke a bone in her left foot on her own Instagram account with daily posts, is the leading goal scorer at the club ever since Juventus established a women’s side. It’s easy to say that her return will be welcome for both club and country even with the success that they’ve had in her absence.
On Day 86 following her surgery, Bonansea was back on the training field.
Salvai, a regular starter alongside captain Sara Gama in the heart of Juve’s defense, was the lone piece of bad news the club received following their 1-0 win over Fiorentina late last March, a game that set an attendance record in Italy since it was played at Allianz Stadium.
Since that day in late March when Salvai was diagnosed with a torn ACL in her left knee — an injury she suffered while going up for a header in the second half against La Viola — she might as well be considered her teammates’ No. 1 fan. Instead of participating in the Women’s World Cup this past summer — something that was a virtual lock to take place before her injury — Salvai traveled to France to root on her Juventus Women teammates on Italy’s squad. (On top of getting married over the summer, too.)
We’ll see how long it takes for both players to get back into the match day squad, and to expect them to be included in the one for the Milan showdown might be a little too optimistic. But, for now, one of the last big steps for both Bonansea and Salvai has been taken — and that’s good news for all parties involved no matter how you look at it.