Juventus trio Arthur, Paulo Dybala and Weston McKennie have been left out by head coach Andrea Pirlo as punishment for their breach of coronavirus protocols.
Italian newspaper La Stampa reported that police were called to McKennie’s home late on Wednesday to break up a social gathering, with such events forbidden under current social restrictions.
Arthur and Dybala were among those to attend, despite a nationwide curfew put in place amid the global health pandemic.
Ahead of Saturday’s derby with Torino, Pirlo confirmed the three players would not be involved – and did not make it clear exactly when they will be considered again for first-team action.
“The three players involved in the episode are not called up for tomorrow’s match and we will see when they will resume,” the Juve boss told the media on Friday. “Having said that, let’s talk about the derby.
“I took the decision not to call them, the club did the rest. This certainly wasn’t the right time to have a dinner until late, both because it was two days away from a match and out of respect for those who respect the rules.”
For Dybala, it is the latest setback in a difficult season. The forward has featured in just 11 Serie A games in 2020-21 and has been sidelined since the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Porto through injury.
The Argentina international issued an apology via Instagram on Friday having attended the gathering with his colleagues, adding: “I know that in such a difficult moment for the world with COVID it would’ve been better not to make a mistake, but I was wrong to stay out to dinner.”
Pirlo is also without defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Merih Demiral after both tested positive for coronavirus during the international break.
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It is hardly ideal for the reigning league champions as they desperately look to stay in the title race; Juve suffered a shock 1-0 home loss to Benevento last time out and trail leaders Inter by 10 points.
“Tomorrow is very important, we will speak to each other before the match in order to face it in the best possible way. The approach doesn’t change, you play to win, always,” Pirlo said.
“After defeats you have to get up and react as best you can. We are ready to do that, we will show great pride, we have champions and a great group who want to react.”
Pirlo will have Alex Sandro available after he returned to training without any issues, while Danilo offers an option for Juve in either defence or midfield.
Torino have won only one of their past 29 Serie A derbies between the sides, though they too are in need of points as they sit precariously placed in 17th, just above the relegation zone.
Juve are unbeaten in their past 33 league fixtures against teams starting the matchday in the bottom four (W29 D4), their last defeat against such opposition coming back in May 2016 against Verona.
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