When Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini went down injured within days of one another, the obvious question became about their availability for the first leg of Juventus’ Champions League Round of 16 tie against Atletico Madrid in Spain.
While no true timetables were given after their respective injuries were announced by the club itself, Juve manager Max Allegri has sounded relatively optimistic about his two starting center back’s status.
La Gazzetta dello Sport seems to be pretty optimistic about it as well.
Italy’s pink-colored sports daily newspaper reported Friday morning — which was then echoed by other outlets like MARCA in Spain — that they believe both Chiellini and Bonucci will be available for the trip to the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday, Feb. 20. It doesn’t necessarily say when exactly the two Italians will return to action or if they will have some Serie A minutes under their belts the weekend before the trip to Madrid, but the big thing here is that the Gazzetta believes Juventus’ defense won’t be relying on a pair of backup center backs against Atleti.
And that sound you hear is a little stress being lifted off all our shoulders.
Ever since the pair got injured, the reports coming out of Italy were a relatively mixed bag. At first it seemed like both of them had better chances of missing the first leg against Atletico Madrid rather than actually playing. Then, as time went on and January turned into February, things started to look more and more optimistic. Allegri said that Bonucci’s injury wasn’t as bad as initially thought, meaning he wouldn’t be out as long as was first reported. Same goes for Chiellini, too, which is obviously good news seeing as he was only expected to miss a couple of weeks at most.
So, good news, right? Nothing against Daniele Rugani and Martin Caceres, but Chiellini and Bonucci are the two guys that pretty much everybody wants to see starting against Atleti.