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Report: Juventus won’t risk Paulo Dybala, Leonardo Bonucci vs. Villarreal

Well, this isn’t exactly encouraging.

Paulo Dybala (L) and Leonardo Bonucci of Juventus FC are... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

To say that Juventus’ roster is anything close to full strength heading into Tuesday night’s Champions League Round of 16 first leg against Villarreal is quite the case of the obvious.

That was the case before kickoff against Torino on Friday night. And it’s most certainly the case now as we sit two days out from Juve facing Villarreal.

According to Sky Sport Italia on Saturday, Juventus manager Max Allegri will not risk two of his squad’s two most notable players who are dealing with injury issues at the moment, Leonardo Bonucci and Paulo Dybala. Both Bonucci and Dybala have had their expected visits to J Medical on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, with the former dealing with a calf strain and Dybala being diagnosed with muscle fatigue rather than a muscle injury of note, according to reports out of the Italian press.

The result in the reported decision to not risk both Bonucci and Dybala means Allegri will again have to shuffle the deck coming off a disappointing result last Friday against Torino.

While it remains to be seen what direction Allegri goes in attack with Dybala not being risked on Tuesday, things are going to be a little easier to figure out in defense. Not only is Bonucci expected to be held out of the lineup, but it looks rather unlikely that Daniele Rugani — who was Bonucci’s original replacement in the starting lineup on Friday — will be able to recover in time to face Villarreal after getting hurt in warmups before the Derby della Mole. That should push Danilo — who served a one-game yellow card accumulation suspension on Friday — into the center of defense to pair with Matthijs de Ligt.

(Remember, Giorgio Chiellini is still out injured as well, folks.)

Just how long Dybala and Bonucci could be out remains to be seen. With the reporting surrounding Dybala rather encouraging since no injury has been discovered and subsequently reported on, it could very well be a short absence for Juve’s No. 10 this time around. (Then again, we were thinking that with Federico Bernardeschi as well, and he is still very much not back from his muscle fatigue issues.)

But the odds of them coming back into the starting lineup against Villarreal on Tuesday night seem very, very slim. Even though it will be a tough blow for a team that can’t afford to lose any more players, it’s probably for the best considering Juve can’t afford to lose both Dybala and Bonucci for an extended period of time.