The big injury news going into Juventus’ trip to Russia to face Lokomotiv Moscow was the fact that Matthijs de Ligt, the hero of the Derby della Mole, was not called up due to a slight ankle sprain. About 24 hours later, the injury news coming out of that same fixture in Moscow was that Maurizio Sarri replaced Cristiano Ronaldo 10 minutes before the final whistle because, as we found out, Juve’s star No. 7 had a slight muscle issue.
Now two days after the 2-1 win over Lokomotiv thanks to Douglas Costa’s weaving and stunning run through the Russian side’s defense in stoppage time, we might have a little clarity as to their availability come this weekend against AC Milan.
According to Goal Italia’s Romeo Agresti, both Ronaldo and de Ligt didn’t train with the rest of the group on Friday, but the club is optimistic that both players will be healthy enough to give it a go on Sunday against Milan. Agresti says that there’s “no worries” when it comes to Ronaldo’s status, while de Ligt might be more of a close call based simply on his chances of rejoining the group come training on Saturday.
#Juventus: allenamento personalizzato oggi sia per #Ronaldo sia per #DeLigt. Nessuna preoccupazione per il portoghese in vista del Milan, mentre il centrale olandese dovrebbe unirsi al gruppo domani e filtra ottimismo per domenica ⚪️⚫️ #JuveMilan@GoalItalia— Romeo Agresti (@romeoagresti) November 8, 2019
The general point of Agresti’s report above: Juventus is optimistic that both Ronaldo and de Ligt will be available for Sunday’s clash with Milan.
As much as Juventus need de Ligt to maintain full fitness and, in turn, how shaky Daniele Rugani has been replacing him the last couple of weeks, all eyes are going to be on Ronaldo — both because of who he is and how he is currently playing.
Ronaldo has struggled in recent weeks, with a good number of people suggesting that a rest is in order for the 34-year-old striker. Just as was the case last season, Ronaldo is one of Juventus’ most-used players — not that it’s a surprise to anybody around here — and has started all but two of the club’s first 15 games so far this season. In both of the league games in which he hasn’t appeared, he hasn’t even made the trip, which is a change from last season when Max Allegri used Ronaldo a handful of times off the bench.
Through the first 2 1⁄2 months of the 2019-20 Serie A season, only Leonardo Bonucci has played more minutes than Ronaldo, who (along with Alex Sandro) has played 810 minutes the league.
This topic will surely come up during Sarri’s pre-match press conference on Saturday. And with Juventus now opting to announce their match day squad on the actual game days rather than right after the manager talks, we’re going to have to be a little patient to get official word as to whether Ronaldo or de Ligt will take part in Milan’s visit to Turin this weekend.