Half an hour had not elapsed after the Turin derby when Massimiliano Allegri sent Paul Pogba to warm up, this Wednesday night. The score revealed an amazing 1-1. Torino dominated the game with aplomb and the Juventus coach could not resist the pressure. Pogba, who had been injured for almost seven months and had not played a minute in the competition since signing free last summer, has become a kind of lifeline for the fans and the club’s owners in the face of the greatest existential crisis that shake the Vecchia Signora in 125 years of history.
Szczesny, Danilo, Alex Sandro, Bremer (Bonucci, min. 90), Filip Kostic, Rabiot, Nicolo Fagioli, Enzo Barrenechea, Cuadrado (Mattia De Sciglio, min. 68), Dusan Vlahovic (Kean, min. 86) and Di María (Federico Chiesa, min. 68)
Vanja Milinkovic, Koffi Djidji (Andrew Gravillon, min. 83), Alessandro Buongiorno, Perr Schuurs, Ivan Ilić, Wilfried Stephane Singo, Ricardo Rodríguez (Mergim Vojvoda, min. 74), Linetty (Samuele Ricci, min. 74), Miranchuk, Yann Karamoh (Radonjic, min. 59) and Sanabria
goals 0-1 min. 2: Yann Karamoh. 1-1 min. 15: Square. 1-2 min. 42: Sanabria. 2-2 min. 46: Danilo. 3-2 min. 70: Bremer. 4-2 min. 80: Rabiot.
Referee Daniele Chiffi
Yellow cards Ricardo Rodríguez (min. 60) and Samuele Ricci (min. 94)
Exor, the investment company that controls Juventus and owns Fiat, Chrysler, Peugeot, Citroën and Ferrari, among other companies, has declared a state of emergency at the Italian club with the most fans. After a month ago the Court of Appeals for Italian football sentenced it to lose 15 points in the Serie A classification for accounting fraud, Juventus borders on financial ruin. Only qualifying for the Champions League, the first generator of income for the big clubs in Europe, would allow him to continue covering the expenses of his squad. But until this Tuesday he was 13 points behind Lazio, occupying fourth place, the last one with the right to play the highest club competition next year.
“We have to be brave and try to reach fourth place despite the 15 points that have been taken from us,” Allegri said on Monday, in the same conference in which he admitted that Pogba would be called up after just 10 days of training with the group in his legs. “Paul will be with us,” he warned. “I have spoken with him. He must understand that there is a long season ahead to get on the road. I hope his body readapts to football ”.
There are 14 days left for the end of Serie A. It can be a lot or a little. It depends on Pogba’s ability to recover, and it depends on the injury he suffers. This is the subject of controversy in the European football industry. The official version indicates that he suffered a tear in the external meniscus of his right knee. But various agents who regularly negotiate with the Italian club indicate that there are indications that this might not be accurate. They point to the “obscurantism” of the club, to the strange medical fluctuations, and to the long recovery periods, to suspect that it may be a cartilage injury. The knee cartilage tear, unlike the meniscus, does not allow a 100% recovery.
For a club like Juventus, which is preparing to sell or loan players en masse if they don’t qualify for the Champions League, having to pay for Pogba’s token could become a very serious burden. The Frenchman signed for 11 million euros net per course – at United he came to collect 22 million – until 2026. “I am very happy to be back,” he said, after joining the society that projected him to the peak of his career . At 29 years old, the 2018 world champion no longer valued money so much. He just wanted to redeem himself from his bad experience in the Premier. He did not know the ground he stood on.
His injury, during a preseason friendly, was followed by the crisis of his employers. Juventus, historically the most solid sports society in Italy, protected for a century by the greatest dynasty of leaders that has ever existed in football, threatens to become an institutional desert.
Serie A predictability
The club was heavily in debt when the covid pushed it into the abyss. According to official accounts, Juventus’ net worth went from 239 to 125.5 million euros between June and December 2020. In the 2021-22 academic year, income fell to 443.4 million euros, while operating expenses they rose to 483.4. On November 28, President Andrea Agnelli announced his resignation to avoid greater evils. Agnelli carried in his backpack the stubborn sponsorship of the Super League, a project that confronted UEFA with no other consequences than his loss of authority. Last weekend, in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraph, the leader insisted: “The Super League is necessary because football, as it is conceived, alienates the public due to its predictability.” A curiosity: nine of the last Italian Leagues have been won by Juventus. The last one in 2019.
The feeling that the club is headed for limbo spreads to one of the most qualified squads in Europe. The players seem to be in a bind. Supermen are needed to change an inertia that surpasses them. Along with Vlahovic and Rabiot, Pogba is the closest thing to the all-powerful player Exor envisions — the Agnelli — to pull Juventus out of the flames.
Pogba entered the field in the 67th minute. Juventus, who was drawing 2-2, ended up pushing and thrashing Torino 4-2.
You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.