2,474 days after last appearing for Juventus, Paul Pogba pulled on the famous black and white stripes once again for a cameo appearance in Tuesday’s triumphant Turin derby.
The World Cup winner has had his second spell with the Old Lady dominated by a knee injury he sustained during preseason. However, as Juventus prepare for an intriguing away game against Roma on Sunday night, Pogba is not the only fitness concern for Massimiliano Allegri to consider.
Here’s everything you need to know about any absentees and doubts lingering over Allegri’s selection process this weekend.
The club as a whole may have been punished with a 15-point penalty this season but none of Juve’s individual players is facing a ban for the trip to the Stadio Olimpico.
Manuel Locatelli is once again available for selection after sitting out the midweek derby against Torino. Juve had dropped five points from the three previous matches Locatelli has missed this season and were at risk of losing more after twice falling behind to their city rivals in the first half.
However, Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro both bagged equalisers before Juve’s centre-back Gleison Bremer nodded the Bianconeri ahead against his former employers after the break. Adrien Rabiot sealed all three points with Juve’s fourth goal of the night in the final ten minutes.
Alongside the returning Locatelli, Allegri has been able to welcome the talented young midfielder Fabio Miretti back from injury. The 19-year-old has missed the last three games with an ankle problem but will be part of the party travelling to Rome this weekend.
Arkadiusz Milik will not be involved against Roma. Only Dusan Vlahovic has scored more Serie A goals for Juve this season than the loanee even though injury has limited Milik to far fewer minutes. The Poland international has been sidelined since January with a hamstring issue from which he is yet to recover.
Mattia De Sciglio has missed four months of the campaign with a similar problem and is sidelined once again with a muscular injury after a recent run in the team. Long-term absentee Kaio Jorge is still waiting for his first Serie A appearance since 2021 while he inches back from a ruptured patella.
Pogba was cautiously given 22 minutes against Torino on Tuesday night and was treated to a rousing reception from the Allianz Stadium despite scarcely touching the ball.
Rather than fuss over his 50% pass accuracy, Allegri was more concerned with Pogba’s physical response to his first competitive appearance for any club since April. “He reacted well, he trained yesterday and he’s fine,” Juve’s manager revealed ahead of Sunday’s game. “The other day I was happy with the way he came on, he did good things.”
However, Allegri was quick to temper expectations of Pogba suddenly reproducing the all-action performances which defined his first spell in Turin and convinced Manchester United to make him the most expensive player in the world. “For the moment though, he’s just a good option on the bench,” Allegri explained.