ROME (AP) — Italy midfielder Nicolò Zaniolo will undergo another serious knee operation on Wednesday after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament for the second time in eight months.
The 21-year-old Roma player only returned from his previous injury in July but hurt his other knee while playing for Italy on Monday, limping off shortly before halftime during the 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the Nations League.
“(Zaniolo) has suffered a complete tear to the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.” Roma said Tuesday.
He was injured in a challenge by Donny van de Beek.
Zaniolo, who ruptured the ACL in his right knee during a match against Juventus in January, posted an update on his condition on social media.
“For the many people who are asking me how I am, this morning I underwent the customary tests which showed the rupture of the cruciate ligament in my left knee!” Zaniolo wrote on Instagram. “I thank everyone, both Roma fans and others for the support… I’ll be back soon!”
Clubs and fellow players posted messages of support online.
“It may sound trite to say that you will come back stronger than before, but I’m sure you will manage to do so,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini wrote on Twitter.
Italy team doctor Andrea Ferretti said he reassured Zaniolo, who turned 21 in July and is one of the most promising young players in the country, by noting that Carlo Ancelotti went on to win three Serie A titles and two European Cups as a player after returning from similar circumstances.
“I talked to the boy this morning after he did the tests and I reminded him of an illustrious precedent … Carlo Ancelotti,” Ferretti said. “It was the start of the 80s: first one cruciate ligament, then shortly after he returned to the field he did the other. Then the player came back right to the top level, returning to the national team and winning everything that a player can win.”
Zaniolo had scored two goals in his eight Serie A appearances since returning from injury.
All but one of those appearances had been as a substitute but he started in Amsterdam on Monday.
“My very best wishes to Zaniolo. He is the patrimony of the whole country,” Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malagò said. “At that age there are not so many cases of a double injury in the space of a few months, it’s almost something for the Guinness Book of Records.
“But I’m sure he will come back as strong, or rather even stronger than before. I don’t know if it’s a problem of playing too much. Let’s leave that the competent people to talk about.”
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