Juventus released its 22-man squad for the upcoming Champions League group stages, and two names were surprising omissions.
Mario Mandzukic and Emre Can were both left off the squad and will be unable to participate in Champions League matches throughout the group stage. Juventus acquired loads of talent this summer, especially in midfield, and failed to secure adequate departures to balance the squad.
The 33-year-old Mandzukic has been with the club since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2015, and has made 162 appearances for the Italian side, by far the most of any club in his career. His surprising omission comes at the hands of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, with no other outright strikers in the group. Higuain returned to Juventus this summer after loan spells at AC Milan and Chelsea last season, costing Mandzukic his place in the squad.
Still just 25 years old, Emre Can was pushed out of his place in the Juventus midfield by the free transfer signings of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot this summer, with both included in the Champions League squad. Rabiot is slowly being integrated into the Juve squad, while Ramsey is currently shelved while recovering from a hamstring injury suffered back in the spring with Arsenal. Can also signed with Juve on a free the previous summer, and he was a regular starter for the side last season when not injured.
Can, however, has struggled with injuries throughout his career, a possible reason for leaving him off the Champions League roster. The German international has played just 30 minutes of Juve’s first two Serie A matches of the season, coming on as a substitute for the final half-hour of the crazy 4-3 win over Napoli last weekend. Fellow oft-injured midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira made the cut over Can, however, signaling a reckoning for the German.
Giorgio Chiellini was also left off the roster, although that was expected after the veteran defender suffered a torn ACL that will at the very least keep him out until the new year, and could potentially end the 35-year-old’s season. Young defenders Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral both make the list in Chiellini’s absence.
With Mattia Perin injured until at least mid-November, Wojciech Szczesny and Gianluigi Buffon are the main goalkeepers while Carlo Pinsoglio serves as the emergency netminder.
This summer, Juventus brought in a wealth of talent, including Ramsey, Rabiot, Higuain, de Ligt, Demiral, Cristian Romero, Danilo, and Luca Pellegrini. They sold Moise Kean to Everton and Joao Cancelo to Manchester City, but the midfield especially remains far too clogged.