It didn’t take long for the first hit of the international break to arrive.
Monday brought the news that Manuel Locatelli’s stay with the Italian national team during the November international break was a short one. On the same day in which he got to Coverciano, Locatelli was already on his way back to Turin, as it was discovered that he had broken one of his ribs, according to Goal Italia’s Romeo Agresti.
When asked by a follower on Twitter when the injury actually happened, Agresti said that it occurred at some point during Saturday’s win against Cagliari. Locatelli, however, played through the injury and completed the full 90-plus minutes.
#Juventus: #Locatelli rientra a Torino dopo aver svolto gli esami in Nazionale che hanno evidenziato una lieve frattura leggermente scomposta a una costola. Farà terapie per alcuni giorni e, poi, la ripresa sarà basata sulla sintomatologia. #Huijsen non giocherà in Nazionale per…— Romeo Agresti (@romeoagresti) November 13, 2023
The fear now is that Locatelli, the only Juventus midfielder to start the first 12 games of the 2023-24 season, is a serious doubt for the Derby d’Italia against Inter in two weeks. Considering that Juventus has yet to say anything about Locatelli’s injury, we don’t know the severity of it and how much time he could miss. Although, when it comes to any sort of broken rib, unless he’s willing to continue to try and play through it — which is made a little “easier” by the fact that Juve are only playing once a week this season — then you gotta believe the rumors of Locatelli being a serious doubt is very much in the cards.
So, if Locatelli is not fit enough to play against Inter two Sundays from now, that means Juventus will have just three midfielders available: Adrien Rabiot (back from suspension), Fabio Miretti and Hans Nicolussi Caviglia, who just made his season debut this past weekend against Cagliari. That, no matter how you try and spin it, is not a good situation to be in, with 18-year-old Joseph Nonge — he himself who has been with the senior squad for just a few weeks now — being your only natural midfielder on the bench.
(For what it’s worth, I decided to pull up La Gazzetta dello Sport’s predicted lineup page for next Sunday’s Derby d’Italia even though we’re still a while from it going down and they have Nicolussi Caviglia starting in Locatelli’s place.)
I guess this is just another instance of international breaks not providing much of a break for anybody because there’s always some sort of bad news waiting for you. Here’s to hoping Locatelli’s broken rib isn’t as broken as may be feared and he can get back as soon as possible because Juventus really can’t afford to miss anybody else to injury — especially in midfield.