For those of you wondering when Matthijs de Ligt might get the chance to shine in the heart of the Juventus defense, a very clear — yet so, so, so sad — opportunity has cleared the way for the club’s €75 million Dutchman.
Juventus announced Friday that captain Giorgio Chiellini suffered a torn ACL in training earlier in the day and will undergo surgery within a matter of days, with the likelihood of seeing 35-year-old defender play a major role in the team’s successes this season looking incredibly minimal at this point. While no timetable was announced in Juve’s brief statement regarding Chiellini’s injury, it is expected that he will miss at least five or six months.
Here are three sentences you didn’t want to read, from Juventus’ official website:
During today’s training, Giorgio Chiellini sustained a sprain of his right knee.
The diagnostic tests performed at J|Medical showed a lesion of the anterior cruciate ligament.
It will be necessary to have surgery in the coming days.
For the record, I would like Juventus players — be it male or female — to stop suffering serious knee injuries.
On the eve of a big early-season game. The day after the Champions League group stage draw happens and Juventus find out their first three European opponents. It’s always bad timing when one of your star players suffers an injury like this — especially knowing that, at age 35, he’s only got so many more games left in his body — but to have it happen essentially right as the season is beginning ... it’s just crushing.
What this means for Chiellini’s career going forward is something that will only be determined by how his body responds to everything that he will endure over the coming months. Muscle injuries are always a threat when it comes to Chiellini, but nothing like this has ever happened over his incredibly-accomplished career, so we’re just going to have to wait and see on that.
But, going forward, I think it’s fairly safe to say that it’s de Ligt time — and, knowing what we know all of the sudden, Juventus acquiring the best young central defender in the game today certainly looks like an even more important signing.
The trickle down effect likely means that any kind of sale or loan deal that sees Daniele Rugani leave the club likely won’t happen now. Or it shouldn’t, for that matter, knowing that Juve are down to four senior team center backs. Do they go out and try to sign somebody on the cheap simply to get that number back up to five? Who knows, but it’s pretty easy to see that de Ligt will be — and, honestly, has to be — the one who will step in Chiellini’s starting role alongside Leonardo Bonucci.