When Italy manager Milena Bertolini announced Italy’s squad for the upcoming Women’s World Cup, it had to feel a little extra rewarding for defender Cecilia Salvai for two very specific and related reasons. The first was that she missed out on the 2019 Women’s World Cup after undergoing major knee surgery. The second was because she missed out on last summer’s Euros for the same exact reason.
You can see why it was a good weekend for the Salvais.
And now we have another reason to be happy.
Salvai, who bounced back from her latest big-time injury to have quite the impressive 2022-23 campaign, has signed a contract extension with Juventus Women through 2026, the club announced on Monday. The 29-year-old Salvai, one of Juve’s original players who have been with the club for its entire six-year existence, now has one of the longest contracts of any Bianconere player and is setting herself up to potentially finish her career in Turin with the new contract extension.
Salvai injured her knee in the final game of the Women’s Champions League group stage against Swiss side Servette in December of 2021, requiring major surgery that ruled her out for the rest of the 2021-22 season. She made her return to the field in Juve’s Sept. 16 showdown with Roma, playing a total of 58 minutes and her team record a 1-0 win over the eventual Serie A Femminile champions.
In total, Salvai appeared 18 league games, starting all but one of them.
With Sara Gama battling her own respective injuries last season, Salvai also wore the captain’s armband quite a bit. Considering Gama’s age (34) and the fact that her playing time has gone down because of injuries the last couple of years, Salvai could very well be in line to become Juventus Women’s next captain whenever their current captain decides to hang up her boots for good.
No matter what, though, as Juve’s defense starts to transition into a new era because of the ages of some of their other center backs, it’s pretty clear that Salvai will be in the center of things no matter who is starting alongside her going forward the next couple of years.