Rising star Zaniolo’s season at risk after rupturing ACL

MILAN (AFP) – Rising star Nicolo Zaniolo has suffered a cruciate ligament injury which could rule the Italy international out for the rest of the season, his club Roma announced last Sunday.

“Zaniolo underwent medical assessments that confirmed the rupture of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right knee, along with some damage to the meniscus,” Roma said in a statement, adding that he will “undergo surgery on Monday”.

The 20-year-old was stretchered off the pitch in tears in the 36th minute of Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Serie A leaders Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico, after suffering the injury while trying to dribble past Matthijs De Ligt and Adrien Rabiot.

Roma were at that point two goals down to champions Juve with the hosts having conceded twice in the opening 10 minutes.

Zaniolo has scored twice for Italy in his five appearances and had been expected to be a key player in Euro 2020, but he may now miss the tournament.

He has also scored six goals in 23 competitive games this season for Roma.

The midfielder posted an picture on Instagram of the moment he was on the stretcher with Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo comforting him.

“I swear to you … I’ll come back stronger than before,” he wrote.

“It’s a big problem, but now he has to think only about his recovery,” said Roma coach Paulo Fonseca.

“That’s what we must hope for him right now. We’re very sad for Zaniolo but tomorrow is a new day.”

Roma dropped to fifth after their second consecutive home defeat.