Andrea Pirlo turned to his bench with seven minutes remaining in Juventus’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.
And, rather than call upon the in-form Aaron Ramsey, the Juve boss decided to put his trust in Federico Bernardeschi instead.
Pirlo obviously felt the £33 million Italy international could make a difference in the final few moments at the Allianz Stadium. And he was was right; Bernardeschi turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-0 one as Juve failed to win for the fourth time in their last five games.
Not only was the former Fiorentina talisman completely anonymous in attack as the Serie A giants once again struggled to click in the final third, he also fouled Ansu Fati for the penalty Lionel Messi would dispatch in stoppage time.
In fact, it is hard to imagine a more disastrous cameo appearance at the top level of European football.
But, in many ways, those seven catastrophic minutes sum up Bernardeschi’s entire Juventus career – one that begun with plenty of excitement but continues to grow increasingly underwhelming with time.
“He needs to regain confidence. Psychologically, he is a bit down after the mistake on Sunday and the one in today’s game,” Pirlo told Goal, three days after Bernardeschi also gifted a goal to Hellas Verona in a 1-1 Serie A draw
“He has to work in his head, he has to be calm and he has to want to play football. Playing doesn’t have to be something that brings sadness or pressure onto you – it has to be a beautiful thing and when you get on the pitch you have to have fun.
“Unfortunately, at the moment, he has other things on mind and we will have to work on it. We are talking about a player on whom we will rely heavily.”
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal were reported to be interested in offering Bernardeschi a fresh start away from Turin over the summer, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.
But while the Gunners continue to suffer from a chronic lack of cutting edge, it seems that Bernardeschi is more likely to set up goals for the opposition than his own Juventus team-mates these days.