Italy’s emerging star Nicolo Zaniolo faces surgery and months of recovery with a cruciate ligament injury to his left knee having missed much of this year with the same problem on the right, his Serie A club Roma announced on Tuesday.
Zaniolo limped off in the first half of Italy’s Nations League victory over the Netherlands on Monday in Amsterdam, immediately raising fears over the seriousness of the problem.
“The initial suspected diagnosis has been confirmed: the player has a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in the left knee and will have surgery on Wednesday,” Roma posted on Twitter.
It is wretched luck for the 21-year-old who only returned in the summer after the identical injury on his right knee suffered in a January defeat to Juventus.
Before the injury Zaniolo had been unlucky not to open the scoring with an acrobatic bicycle kick.
Italy went on to beat the Dutch 1-0 thanks to a Nicolo Barella header.