At 31 years old, Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira seems to be caught in a never-ending battle with his own fitness, and losing.
The Italian club confirmed early Saturday that Khedira suffered a sprained ankle during a Saturday morning training session and is unlikely to face SPAL next weekend. The German had only just returned last weekend from a six-week absence, playing the final 16 minutes in Juventus’s win over AC Milan.
Khedira joined Juventus in the summer of 2015 on a free transfer from Real Madrid, and has actually maintained a relatively clean bill of health the last two campaigns after just 20 league appearances his first season in Turin. However, this season has been a different story, with just five Serie A appearances and eight overall.
Multiple reports now say he’s a doubt to play against SPAL next weekend, a critical match as Juventus looks to hold its six-point lead at the top of the table. Inter and Napoli behind them play 19th placed Frosinone and 20th placed Chievo Verona respectively, so a win is critical for the Old Lady.
Coming up for Juventus after the SPAL game is a Champions League meeting with Valencia in Spain, followed by league matches against Fiorentina and Inter all by December 7. Ankle sprains can linger depending on the severity, so a spell on the sidelines for Khedira that encompasses those matches is not unfathomable.
Argentine midfielder Rodrigo Betancur has been the most direct beneficiary of Khedira’s absence, without a start through four matches until Kherida’s knee injury, at which point he received seven starts over the next eight Serie A games. Emre Can would be in the mix but he has missed the last three Serie A matches after having thyroid surgery. These absences have forced Miralem Pjanic into a deeper role with Blaise Matuidi alongside him.