Who will replace Pjanic against Real Madrid?

Real Madrid will not have to worry about Miralem Pjanic in the first leg of their quarter-final against Juventus, given that the former Roma man is out suspended, along with Medhi Benatia.

Without Pjanic, Massimiliano Allegri loses one of his most trusted players, as only Gonzalo Higuain and Giorgio Chiellini have played more than the 1,600 minutes of Pjanic this season.

It’s clear that the 27-year-old is a key part of what the Turin-based side do.

He is the brains of their midfield and is the player who has played the most passes, while nobody has created more goalscoring chances than his 50 or provided more assists than his seven.

As a freekick and corner taker, he is also a main reason why Juventus have scored 19 set-piece goals in Serie A this year, the joint most along with Napoli.

On top of all this, Pjanic has also become better at tracking back and defending since joining Juventus, as he has recovered 183 balls this year and intercepted 44 passes.

So how does Allegri possibly go about replacing such an important player?

Well, here are a few of the candidates to fill the Bosnia and Herzegovina international’s spot on the teamsheet.

Claudio Marchisio

He was once expected to replace Andrea Pirlo as a ‘regista’ and has the most similar skillset to Pjanic.

There is, though, a doubt over his performance level, while he has often been injured, having missed 268 days after a cruciate ligament injury in 2015/16.

Allegri seems to believe Marchisio could be a good option to cover for Pjanic given that the Italian coach turned to the youth graduate as soon as he learned of his regular starter’s suspension, trialling Marchisio in a double pivot with Sami Khedira in a 2-0 win over Udinese.

Blaise Matuidi

Of the possible replacements, Matuidi is the one who is in the best rhythm as he has spent a lot of this season playing in a double pivot of a 4-2-3-1 or on the left of a 4-3-3.

A Khedira-Matuidi double pivot would provide a physicality and energy, although it might not be the most creative.

There is a chance that Matuidi and Marchisio could both play in a 4-3-3, with the latter in the middle, with the Frenchman on the left and with Khedira on the right.

Rodrigo Bentancur

This would be a risky option.

The Uruguayan is a very promising talent, but is still only 20 and is in a development phase.

To play him against such an experienced Champions League team could be a mistake, similar to the one Unai Emery committed with Giovani Lo Celso at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Stefano Sturaro

With the passing of the seasons he has been playing less and less, however he almost always delivers when called upon and Allegri has a fairly high level of faith in him.

The 25-year-old was in the starting lineup when Real Madrid lost 2-1 to Juventus in the semi-finals of 2014/15.

Like Matuidi, he would guarantee a physical presence if he were to play.