Arthur Melo is set to play through a shin injury against Porto
Arthur Melo is set to play through the pain barrier despite a shin injury that has kept him resting for a MONTH as Andrea Pirlo pins Juventus’ Champions League hopes on the ‘unique’ £75m midfielder ahead of Porto second leg
- Andrea Pirlo will turn to midfielder Arthur Melo to guide Juventus past Porto
- Juve are trailing 2-1 from the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie
- However the Italian Champions have never lost with Melo in their starting XI
- Pirlo will ask him to play through an injury that has sidelined for the past month
Andrea Pirlo will turn to midfield metronome Arthur Melo to guide Juventus past Porto tonight.
The Italian champions are trailing 2-1 from the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie but have never lost with Melo in their starting line-up and Pirlo has asked the Brazilian to play through pain to help them into the quarter finals.
An unusual injury has left Arthur on the sidelines for the past month. The 24-year-old complained of severe pain in his lower leg following Juve’s game with Roma on February 6 and was diagnosed to be suffering from calcification between his tibia and fibula following a blow to the shin which has required total rest.
Andrea Pirlo will turn to midfielder Arthur Melo to guide Juventus past Porto this evening
However, with Porto in mind, Pirlo put him on the bench for Sunday’s 3-1 win over Lazio and after a 20 minute cameo he is set to face Porto.
‘Arthur is unique for us because of the conditions he has,’ said Pirlo. ‘Even under pressure, he dictates the pace so well and makes everyone’s movements better. The absence of him is always noticeable because he has unique attributes.’
Pirlo’s side are trailing 2-1 from the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie
However the Italian Champions have never lost with Melo (right) in their starting line-up
When Arthur has started, Juventus have never lost, with a record of nine wins and four draws when he starts, including a 3-0 win over his former side Barcelona on his return to the Camp Nou.
JUVENTUS’ PROBABLE XI VS PORTO
JUVE (4-4-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; McKennie, Arthur, Rabiot, Chiesa; Morata, Ronaldo.
Since his injury against Roma, Juve lost at Porto and dropped crucial points in the league against Verona.
He began a delicate course of treatment, the first phase ending last week, with the Brazilian reporting ‘better sensations’ but still enduring pain in the area. The treatment will continue but his importance to Pirlo means that it has been put on hold for now though the Juve boss admitted that Melo can’t be ‘at his best’.
‘Arthur could start, I’m hoping he is going to last for a while,’ confirmed Pirlo. ‘We need a very technical game. We face a compact team, that play with two tight lines. There will be little time and space to think. We’ll need a lot of technique, we must have the patience to make them run from one part to another.’
Juventus have released a motivational video ahead of the game as they attempt another European comeback. A 1-0 win will be enough for the Bianconeri to qualify.
Two years ago, they knocked Atletico Madrid out of the competition after a 2-0 defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano, thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo brace in Turin.
Pirlo will ask Melo to play through an injury that has seen him sidelined for the past month
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