Federico Chiesa has been back in training with his Juventus teammates for just about two weeks now. As far as we know, he’s been slowly ramping things up to prevent any last-minute setbacks before he rejoins the squad in full and then becomes available for selection for Max Allegri.
That date of availability, although in what is expected to be in a very minor role, could soon be upon us.
According to Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio on Tuesday, Chiesa could make his much-anticipated return to a Juventus matchday squad this Friday night when Allegri’s squad takes on Empoli at the Allianz Stadium. It would be the first time Chiesa is included in a matchday squad since that fateful night at the Stadio Olimpico last January when the Italian winger injured his knee and had to undergo surgery for a torn ACL just a few days later.
Earlier in the week and again on Wednesday morning, Tuttosport also suggested that Chiesa could be included in the squad for Empoli, with a friendly leading up to the match against Empoli being the thing that tells Juventus where he is at physically and if he’s ready to take this next big step.
No matter if Chiesa will be called up with the vision of getting him a few second-half minutes when Juventus hopefully has a nice lead or simply there for a morale boost as he makes his teammates laugh on the bench as he displays his goofy smile, simply having him back in the squad has been almost 9 1⁄2 months worth of waiting.
We know Allegri wants to play things slow with Chiesa. He’s maintained that from the very beginning of the preseason when he discussed how Chiesa might fight into the squad when he first came back from his major knee injury. Allegri has always said that the games before the World Cup break would essentially be like Chiesa getting his feet wet before he would then take on a heavier workload come the new year.
What that means now that we’re just a few short weeks before the World Cup break arrives is still very much up in the air. But seeing Chiesa back on Juventus’ bench as early as Friday night knowing that he was originally supposed to be back in mid-September ... well, that’s just going to be a sight for sore eyes if there ever was one.