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Paul Pogba subbed off injured in first Juventus start of the season

So much for the good vibes lasting.

Juventus v US Cremonese - Serie A Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

For the first time in over a year, Paul Pogba was named to his team’s starting lineup. It was the kind of occasion that Pogba and Juventus supporters alike had been waiting for ever since he officially came back to the club last summer, with the Frenchman’s knee and subsequent muscular issues pushing the big day to one of the final games of the 2022-23 season.

That special comeback to the starting lineup last all of about 22 minutes.

A season full of injury woes and frustration added its latest chapter Sunday night, as Pogba picked up what Juventus have initially described as a thigh injury after sending a cross into the Cremonese box midway through the first half. Pogba, who hadn’t started a game since April 2022 with Manchester United, immediately knew it and went down to the Allianz Stadium turf with his hands covering his face. The signal for a sub didn’t come long after, with Pogba’s clear frustration and emotion clearly visible as he got treatment and then walked off the field as he was replaced by Arek Milik.

Pogba’s inclusion in Sunday’s starting lineup came as a surprise to the Frenchman, Juventus manager Max Allegri told DAZN before the game. Allegri had been very cautious with Pogba’s workload over the last month, exclusively using him as an option off the bench for 20-25 minutes a game.

With Juventus facing Cremonese in between the two-legged Europa League semifinal tie against Sevilla, you figured that would be the same approach from Allegri considering the potential risk and how good Pogba had been off the bench in the last few games.

That didn’t happen. And now, depending on how the scans go either later Sunday night or Monday morning at J Medical, Juventus could very well be without their No. 10 for the second leg against Sevilla on Thursday night (and potentially longer than that).