Juventus’s hopes of winning the Champions League suffered a devastating blow as key defender Giorgio Chiellini was ruled out with an injury.
Chiellini had reportedly been struggling with a calf problem on Wednesday, but it was not initially thought to be serious. But on Thursday Juventus confirmed that a scan had revealed a first grade tear to the player’s soleus muscle in his left leg, which rules him out of contention for the match.
The 30-year-old centre-back has been one of Juventus’s key players this season, with some suggesting he is the key to stopping Barcelona’s mighty strike force of Leo Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
Juventus were already a long shot before Chiellini’s injury, with bookmakers pricing them at 5-1 to win the match in 90 minutes and 12-5 to lift the trophy, against Barcelona at 13-20 and 4-11 respectively. But without the Italian international, Juventus’s hopes of winning the tournament – and with it, a historic treble – will lengthen further.
WHO WILL REPLACE HIM?
Chiellini’s place in the starting line-up will undoubtedly be taken by Andrea Barzagli, who has been in and out of the side since returning from a serious ankle injury just a few months ago.
Since his return the 34-year-old Italy international has played a key role, either at the heart of a back-four or on the right of a back three, producing solid defensive performances in key matches including the Serie A-clinching victory away at Sampdoria at the beginning of May.
Chiellini has made 44 appearances for the Turin giants this season scoring a single goal.
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