Lionel Messi will set foot on Italian soil this Tuesday afternoon and, as he's doing so, Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to receive the all clear and return a negative coronavirus test, allowing him to play against Barcelona on Wednesday.
It has been two weeks since Cristiano tested positive for COVID-19 on international duty with Portugal and he has already missed three games through the virus. The forward's frustration has been growing with the situation though because he himself is asymptomatic and fine.
There's no party without Cristiano
Juventus stuttered again on Sunday night against Hellas Verona, extending their wait for a win in Serie A. They've drawn the two domestic games he's missed - away at Crotone as well - though they did win in the Champions League.
But aside from the 3-0 walkover win they were given against Napoli, Juventus haven't won in three rounds of Serie A, drawing with Verona, Crotone and Roma. The numbers paint a clear picture - Juventus suffer without Cristiano Ronaldo leading their attack.
A bad start
They have just nine points from five rounds of fixtures, which is their second worst start to a season in the last decade. In Massimiliano Allegri's second year they had just five points from five games before mounting an incredible comeback to win the title.
Problems against the small teams
Allegri always said that titles were won against the teams in the middle and bottom half of the Serie A table, but those are the sides Juventus have struggled against lately.
Juve have played 14 Serie A matches without Cristiano, winning seven, drawing three and losing four. Without him, they've lost against SPAL and Sampdoria and they've drawn against Lecce.
Cristiano is dreaming of a negative result
For the above reasons and more, Cristiano Ronaldo's return is vital and not only against Barcelona. Oddly, it's more important for Juventus to have him available for their next Serie A game against Spezia at the weekend, given their domestic struggles.
Source: Marca / Maria Antigues Ribas - Conor Clancy