Juventus fans were waiting for this day for a long time. Paul Pogba finally played his first game of the season and also the first since his return to the Italian club in the summer on a free transfer from Manchester United. Coach Massimiliano Allegri decided to play him the last twenty minutes of the game — a 4-2 win against city rival Torino on Tuesday.
Juve won the Derby della Mole after an exciting clash that saw Torino score the opener after one minute with Yann Karamoh. Later in the first half, the Bianconeri equalized with Juan Cuadrado before Toni Sanabria scored again for the guests. The first half ended 2-2 as Juventus scored again with Danilo before the break. In the second half, after Allegri opted to play Pogba and Federico Chiesa and the home team scored the last two goals of the match via Gleison Bremer and with Adrien Rabiot.
The Italian giants are now only ten points behind the top four despite the 15-point deduction after the recent scandal that led to the club’s board resigning last November. Without that deduction (Juventus have appealed against the decision), the club would be second in the table fifteen points behind Napoli.
But the biggest news of the day and for the immediate future was the return of the World Cup-winning midfielder. The French star began his youth career at Manchester United but then opted to move to Italy as a free agent to join Juve where he played four years, logging 178 matches and scoring 34 goals while also providing 40 assists. He won four consecutive Serie A titles and a pair of Coppa Italia titles in the process. He moved back to Manchester United in the summer of 2016 after the English club paid a then-record transfer fee for his services. He knows what it takes to win at Juve.
His second spell at United wasn’t as successful as expected, but despite winning the UEFA Europa League under Jose Mourinho, the two had a difficult relationship which often led to the midfielder being left on the bench. Pogba, in the meantime, had more success playing for the French national as he managed to win the World Cup in 2018. After he signed for Juventus last summer, the midfielder had some big troubles with injuries that led him to miss the first part of the season. The player, against the club’s will, opted to go for a conservative therapy that didn’t work out, and later in September the former Manchester United midfielder decided to undergo surgery and missed the 2022 World Cup.
When his comeback seemed to be getting closer at the beginning of the new year, on Jan. 28 Allegri announced in the press conference that Pogba was finally available again and included him in his squad for the Serie A clash against Monza. However, the excitement ended quite soon as he suffered a flexor problem in the warm-up that forced him out for another month.
Pogba now is back for real and this is only good news for Allegri as he can count on him for the final stint of the season. Juventus are currently 10 points behind the top four and can hope to be back in the Champions League race as the Bianconeri will also face Freiburg in the round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League in what can become their second way to qualify for the major European competition next season.
The Bianconeri are still in the race in the Coppa Italia and they will play the semifinals against Inter later next month. The winner of the domestic cup will be able to play the next edition of the Europa League. Things are looking better now for Juventus and the comeback of Pogba is just what they needed to hope to play in the Champions League next season.
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