Giorgio Chiellini was substituted 10 minutes from time during Juventus’ goalless draw away at SPAL at the weekend with a muscle injury and has withdrawn from the Italy squad for the upcoming international friendly calendar.
Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri confirmed the veteran defender’s absence from the Azzurri squad and although tests are yet to confirm the extent of Chiellini’s injury, he runs the risk of missing the first leg of the Champions League tie against Real Madrid on April 3.
That would pose a considerable headache for Allegri, who will already be missing Chiellini’s central defensive partner, Medhi Benatia through suspension, leaving the Juve boss facing a makeshift defence against the reigning champions.
Allegri facing defensive headache against Real Madrid
Benedikt Höwedes has been out for almost the entire season but was in the squad at SPAL. However, the Germany international has played just 64 minutes in Serie A this season, against Crotone last November.
Allegri’s other options are 23-year-old Daniele Rugani, who has 15 appearances this season but is not a first-team regular, and Andrea Barzagli, who will be 37 in May.
Juve will also have to manage without suspended playmaker Miralem Pjanic in Turin, while winger Federico Bernardeschi is still recovering from a knee injury and Juan Cuadrado is also a doubt.
To add to Juve’s woes, striker Mario Mandzukic has come in for heavy criticism after going 14 games without finding the net, last scoring against Torino in the Coppa Italia on January 3.