Real Madrid have suffered another major injury blow as striker Ruud van Nistelrooy’s season looks to be over after it was announced that he will undergo an operation to correct a problem with his right knee. The reigning Spanish champions already have Arjen Robben and Mahamadou Diarra out of action due to calf and thigh problems, while Rubén de la Red is still recovering after fainting on the pitch on 30 October. de la Red’s football future is in doubt after Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon revealed to a Spanish radio station that the Spain international could be suffering from a heart problem. de la Red will not return to action unless doctors are certain that his health is not in danger.
The 32-year-old former Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven star damaged his knee during Real’s 2-1 Champions League defeat at Juventus in October. He travelled to the United States last week and underwent exploratory surgery. He is being treated by Dr. Richard Steadman, who previously operated on van Nistelrooy in 2000 prior to his move to Manchester United FC from PSV Eindhoven. Along with damaged cartilage, a cyst on the players’ cruciate ligament was discovered, leaving club doctors in no doubt that the player required an operation.
Despite being troubled by the problem all season, van Nistelrooy made six league appearances for Madrid, scoring four times as well as firing in another three goals in four UEFA Champions League games. He is the second top-scorer in Champions League history with 60 goals.
Dr Richard Steadman will be a busy man as he will also be treating Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves. Hargreaves will not play again this season after undergoing surgery on his right knee with a further operation to follow on the left.
The Guardian details that Steadman has developed special surgical techniques which allowed several United States Ski Team members to return to competition and win Olympic medals. In 1976 he was named Chief Physician for the United States Ski Team and in 1989, his work was recognised with his election to the US National Ski Hall of Fame.
Hargreaves has not played since September 21st because of the persistent tendinitis which has restricted his opportunities at Old Trafford since his 2007 move from FC Bayern München. United are also missing Paul Scholes through a knee injury though he should return to action much sooner than his colleague.
Dynamo Kyiv’s substantial injury list has grown by one more. Defender Olexandr Romanchuk has been ruled out for at least six months with a double fracture of his left leg sustained in a Ukrainian Cup quarter-final match. Kyiv look like they will also be missing midfielder Milos Ninkovic, centre-back Taras Mikhalik and goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy ahead of their important MatchDay 5 fixture with Arsenal.
Villarreal’s leading scorer Joseba Llorente will not be available for the Spanish club’s two remaining fixtures in the Champions League as he needs approximately a month to recover from a tear in his right thigh. Llorente had been enjoying a good start to his career at Villarreal, scoring six times in eleven league games so far this season.
He joined the Yellow Submarines on a four-year contract from Real Valladolid in the summer after scoring 16 times in 39 appearances during the 2007-08 season. After coming on as a substitute, he scored a second-half hat trick against Aalborg BK in Villarreal’s memorable 6-3 win on October 21st.
Juventus defender Jonathan Zebina will miss up to three months after undergoing surgery on an inflamed tendon in his left leg.
CFR 1907 Cluj will be without striker Didi and defender Gabriel Muresan is a doubt for the visit of AS Roma next Wednesday. Didi suffered a recurrence of a problem with his left knee in a league game against FC Unirea Urziceni while Muresan is struggling with a muscle strain.