We’ve been waiting, wondering, when exactly Federico Chiesa is going to return to the Juventus squad after missing the last two games due to a minor-ish hamstring injury that he picked up over the international break.
We got a pretty good hint on Thursday.
There were not one, but two Federicos back at training at Continassa, with Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi returning from their respective injuries to rejoin the group ahead of Sunday’s showdown with AC Milan at Allianz Stadium. Due to his injury, Chiesa has missed the loss to Napoli last weekend and Juve’s Champions League opener this past Tuesday night against Malmö. But the return to full training — and the wide reporting from the Italian media that the club will then evaluate him later Thursday to see how he’s responding to being back with the team — is a pretty good hint that Chiesa is very, very close to returning to the field.
Remember, Chiesa was only doing side work on Monday before Juve headed to Sweden. This time around, he was a full participant — and that should give you a pretty strong feeling that he will at least be part of the squad that takes on Milan over the weekend.
Just how available Chiesa will be for the Milan showdown remains to be seen. As of this writing, La Gazzetta dello Sport’s lineup prediction has Chiesa coming off the bench Sunday, with Max Allegri using the same lineup he put out against Malmö a couple of days ago. Obviously we will know more about Chiesa’s condition when Allegri takes to the microphone for his pre-match press conference on Saturday. And even then, we know Max can sometimes be a little coy when it comes to his lineup choices and how players coming back from injury are feeling.
But just to have Chiesa back, whether it’s in the starting lineup or off the bench, is a huge boon for a Juventus team that is very much in need of points these days. I’m guessing that Chiesa was sitting back watching Milan play against Liverpool on Wednesday night and thought to himself that he could do a few things against that defense. You know, more than he did last season, that is.