Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo has confirmed that the club are awaiting results from the latest round of swab tests to see whether Cristiano Ronaldo will be available for Sunday’s clash with Hellas Verona, as the Portuguese star recovers from the coronavirus.
The 35-year-old missed I Bianconeri’s recent disappointing draw with relegation-scrappers Crotone, and Pirlo will be desperate to bring his superstar back into the fold, having picked up the virus on international duty with Portugal.
Speaking ahead of their big clash with Verona, the Italian coach stated that they are awaiting news of Ronaldo’s swab results, and while Juve will have to do without defender Giorgio Chiellini, Matthijs de Ligt is available to partake on Sunday evening.
“We are well. Apart from Chiellini, all the players are available. We are still awaiting Cristiano’s swab test results. For now, there’s no news. Alex Sandro is recovering; he is working calmly. Physically and mentally De Ligt is ready to play. We are only waiting for the ‘okay’ from the orthopedist.
“[Federico] Bernardeschi is also recovering from an injury: my idea is to have him on the wing. He will be a good resource. Today, we are waiting for the eligibility of McKennie, so that he can be with us tomorrow.”
The big news for a lot of Juventus fans however, is that star forward Paulo Dybala will start for I Bianconeri. There have been rumours of unrest and arguments between player and coach, following his lack of minutes in recent weeks. But Pirlo has confirmed Dybala has recovered from his illness issues and will start from the first whistle.
“Tomorrow, Paulo Dybala will play. He didn’t need to be prodded, he just had to recover and train. He will play from the start.
“We have many offensive solutions available: Dybala is good, but we have many multipurpose players who can fill more positions. In midfield, all four players are compatible and interchangeable: they will rotate.”
The Italian boss was also full of praise for forward Alvaro Morata, who has hit the ground running on his return to Turin for his second spell as a Juventus striker.
“I expected Alvaro Morata to have this impact, he knows Paulo well, together they can coexist and do great things. I’m asking Morata to play less on the counter-attack but to be available for the play, to understand where the pressure comes from and maybe free the man for the one-on-one.”
Pirlo also discussed the ‘surreal’ situation of playing in front of an empty stadium, having been welcomed to Kiev by 20,000 supporters for Tuesday evening’s Champions League victory over Dynamo Kiev.
“It’s a surreal situation. On Tuesday, we played in front of 20,000 people and it felt like another world. Playing like this is not easy for anyone; however, having not done a pre-season, the quarantine is a great opportunity to be together.”