The Giallorossi coach is carefully checking the condition of his two ‘gems’ ahead of the Budapest final against Sevilla
“We could make history, but getting into the Champions League with a €7million transfer market isn’t history, it’s not even a miracle. “It is Jesus Christ who arrived in Rome and took a walk to the Vatican,” thundered José Mourinho in the Olimpico’s press room last night. But with just over a week to go before the Budapest finale, Special One worries it’s about the very precious pieces from last summer’s session: Paulo Dybala and Georginio Wijnaldum. The two shots by Tiago Pinto, who, due to his not in the best physical condition, takes the risk of reaching the super challenge against the Andalusians of Seville with his batteries still half empty.
What worries the Setubal coach the most is Dybala’s health. In fact, Joya is still suffering from the aftermath of Palomino’s deadly surgery: the yellow-red number 21’s ankle still hurts and against Salernitana he wasn’t even benched to avoid taking risks. Paulo is also in doubt for Saturday’s match against Fiorentina and, if he does not take the field in Franchi, would reach the final in Budapest without having played a start game in almost two months. The last presence since 1′ was that of April 8th in Turin. Today and tomorrow, despite the two days off granted to the team, the Argentine will continue to be accompanied on his road to recovery by Trigoria staff.
Wijnaldum’s presence in the final act of the Europa League is beyond doubt, but even then the Dutchman is certainly not 100% fit. After missing the first six months of the season with a broken tibia, Gini’s return was also hampered by the muscle injury he sustained in the quarter-finals against Feyenoord a month ago. A series of unfortunate events that never allowed Mourinho to take full advantage of the player who convinced PSG to offer him a salary of 10 million a year (7 plus 3 bonus). In the last two league games he was used from the first minute to get the rhythm back into the game, but in Leverkusen he instead came on at the start of the second half to help the team not push too hard and to withstand the siege of Xabi Alonso’s men. But despite the efforts, Wijnaldum’s impact has not lived up to expectations: the problem is obviously not in his technique or his way of being on the pitch – the stigmas of being a great player are there and it shows – but still not in his physical condition above. For this reason, race number 25 in Florence will also serve as a “Running In” with a view of Budapest. There are only eight days left to become the real Wijnaldum again.
May 23 – 12:54
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