Juventus will be without Dusan Vlahovic when they face Lazio in their final Serie A match before the World Cup break.
Dusan Vlahovic will sit out Juventus’ Serie A game against Lazio on Sunday with the Serbia striker struggling for fitness ahead of the World Cup, head coach Massimiliano Allegri said.
The 22-year-old has not featured for Juventus since they suffered a 4-3 Champions League defeat to Benfica last month, missing their last four games after sustaining a groin injury.
Vlahovic – who is Juventus’ top scorer this season with seven goals – has been named in Serbia’s 26-man squad for the upcoming tournament in Qatar but is yet to fully recover.
Despite Vlahovic participating in recent training sessions, Allegri is unwilling to risk him against Lazio, though he remains adamant the striker is not hesitant about returning before the World Cup.
“Vlahovic, no. He doesn’t feel like it, he’s not well, he’ll stay out. [Federico] Chiesa is available tomorrow,” Allegri said at Saturday’s pre-match press conference.
“You have to be fatalistic. In general, maybe at the first training session with the national team, a player stops and misses the World Cup.
“Vlahovic was part of training both yesterday and today, it is normal for a player to feel he has to help the team. He’s not in optimal physical condition right now.”
However, Juventus will be able to call upon Angel Di Maria against Maurizio Sarri’s men, with the Argentina international having appeared as a substitute in each of the Bianconeri’s last two games after recovering from a thigh problem.
Allegri will make a late decision on whether to start Di Maria ahead of Sunday’s match and will not be swayed by his imminent appearance at a fourth World Cup.
“It is not a question of the World Cup. The other times he played half an hour and did well,” Allegri said.
“I have to decide whether to let him play for a while or to start him from the beginning. It is clear that when he enters, he raises the level of the team. Tomorrow is about the team.
“In the last match, it will be difficult. It is like the first of the championship, since then there will be a long break. It is a dangerous match already, because of the quality of Lazio.”