Italian midfielder Marco Verratti is a doubt for Euro 2016, terrible news for Chelsea manager-t0-be Antonio Conte.
When fit for Paris Saint-Germain this season, Verratti has been absolutely superb. The diminutive Italian has generally performed to the very highest level and done so consistently.
However, he has only played 29 minutes since February. In his absence, Manchester City overcame an underperforming PSG in the Champions League and things don’t look good despite a return last weekend.
It looks like PSG haven’t really got to the root of the issues over two months since the original injury and Laurent Blanc’s comments before the game with Ajaccio weren’t encouraging at all.
“He’s done a lot of work and made a lot of progress since his injury, but he’s still feeling some discomfort. He’s not fit to start a game, we’re still preserving him,” Blanc told reporters.
“There are some important deadlines coming in terms of the club and the Euros with Italy, we don’t want to take any risks.
“However, this isn’t a relapse. Be careful with the terms you use. He’s had a groin problem for a long time.”
If it isn’t a relapse but there isn’t any improvement, what’s going on?
Verratti would be a crucial part of the Italy midfield this summer but it looks more and more likely that he won’t be available.
Italy legend Andrea Pirlo has retired from international duty and is now playing in the MLS so PSG teammate Thiago Motta is likely to be partnered with underperforming midfield players like Marco Parolo and Riccardo Montolivo is Verratti doesn’t make it.
“He’s on the mend, but he was frank with us, he’s not fit to start a game. We’d rather preserve him, we prefer to treat him in the hope he’ll be ready for PSG’s next challenges,” Blanc said.
“I hope that he’ll be there for the Coupe de France [final], he’s been working for two-and-a-half months, I hope he’ll be rewarded.”
Should Verratti miss the Euros it feels like an operation would be his best option but, for now, it’s something everyone wants to steer clear of.
“An operation? We’ll do everything to avoid it. The medical staff and the player are doing everything to avoid it. The operation is the last resort to allow him to get better.
“We’re starting with care, that’s the approach we want to use. He’s so keen to start a game, but he still has some after-effects.”by