Valdes, Walcott, Falcao and the injured stars who could


Following the news that the Barcelona goalkeeper has been ruled out of this summer’s showpiece, Goal looks at some of the other high-profile players who risk sitting out
Victor Valdes’ name has been added to the ever-increasing list of stars set to miss out on this summer’s World Cup in Brazil through injury.

The goalkeeper tore his anterior cruciate ligament in an innocuous incident during Barcelona’s routine 3-0 victory over Celta Vigo on Wednesday evening, not only ending his season, but his involvement in the Spain squad as they look to defend their title. ki

A great number of established names can share in Valdes’ anguish.

Roma confirmed every Dutch football fan’s worst fears when midfielder Kevin Strootman was ruled out the World Cup having torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in an injury strikingly similar to that suffered by Valdes.

Strootman, who suffered the problem during Roma’s Serie A defeat to Napoli earlier this month, is not expected to return to the football field until 2015.

England have already been robbed of the services of Arsenal winger Theo Walcott. The fleet-footed wideman also ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during an FA Cup clash with Tottenham in January, and will not be on the plane to South America. His club team-mate Jack Wilshere broke his foot playing for England against Denmark last week and may not return to first team action until the second weekend of May, thus also placing doubts over his participation in Brazil.

Colombia superstar Radamel Falcao seems unlikely to be fit in time for the World Cup after tearing his ACL during Monaco’s Coupe de France encounter against Chasselay at the end of January. Although the forward’s rehabilitation is going better than expected, he faces an almighty race to be ready by June.

Germany trio Holger Badstuber, Ilkay Gundogan and Sami Khedira also have injury worries. Bayern defender Badstuber has been out with a cruciate ligament injury since November 2012 and it is still not clear when he will return.

Dortmund star Gundogan has made just one Bundesliga appearance this season due to a back complaint and his comeback is also clouded by uncertainty. There is better news for Khedira who claims he will be back in Real Madrid training within weeks after rupturing knee ligaments in November, although he still needs to confirm his form and fitness.

In Italy, Fiorentina forward Giuseppe Rossi‘s participation in Brazil seemed doubtful when he suffered a knee injury against Livorno in January. However the 26-year-old is expected to return to training in April, giving him the chance to prove his fitness in the final weeks of the season.

Meanwhile, Portugal will have to make do without teenage starlet Bruma. The Galatasaray livewire also suffered an ACL injury in January and will be out for at least six months.

Finally, Japan captain Makoto Hasebe underwent surgery at the end of last month after injuring his right knee again. It is not yet known when the Nurnberg player will be ready to return to action, but it is expected to go right down to the wire.


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