Well, if you hadn't already prepared yourself for the worst following yesterday's loss to Napoli, start now. Following an injury in the 8th minute of yesterday's match, Kevin Strootman returned to the pitch, only to collapse in pain once more before finally be subbed off in the 13th minute.
Now it appears as though Roma's worst fears have been realized, as Strootman's medical examination has revealed a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, an injury which puts an end to his debut season in Roma and kills any chance he had at making Holland's World Cup squad. The early reports indicate that Strootman will be on the shelf for nearly nine months, effectively removing him from action for the remainder of 2014.
Kevin Strootman had an MRI scan this morning as he was examined by Professor Giuliano Cerulli. Tests showed he has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and there could also be damage to the meniscus. He will undergo surgery in the next few days.
Speaking to his countryman's international aspirations, Dutch manager Louis van Gaal said the following:
What has happened to Kevin is really dramatic. I can imagine that at the moment his world is falling in, at a very important moment.He gave a great contribution to our qualification for the World Cup in Brazil....We have never had to do without him, but the person most affected is Kevin, who has seen his dream fall to pieces.
This is obviously a gigantic loss for Roma on the pitch, as Strootman has generally been among the league's Top 20 players all season long. In Strootman, Roma will suddenly be without their second leading goal scorer, second leading assistman and best tackler. As far as the timing is concerned, this injury is equally atrocious, as Daniele De Rossi is only a third of the way through his three match suspension.
In Strootman's absence, the signing and performance of Radja Nainggolan takes on added significance. From here on out, #44 is a week-in-week-out starter, but it will be interesting to see how Rudi Garcia fills out the remainder of the midfield, particularly with DDR still suspended; will Rodrigo Taddei see starter's minutes? Does he shift Alessandro Florenzi back to the midfield?
Time will tell of course, but for now, our sympathies go out to Strootman, who was really cementing himself as one of the game's best two way midfielders. This one won't be easy to overcome, that's for sure, so let's all wish Strootman a speedy recovery.