When it rains it pours. After tantalizing us with a couple of appearances this past winter, even setting up a Francesco Totti goal in January's derby, Kevin Strootman was felled once more by his weakened ACL two weeks later, requiring season ending surgery for the second time in as many years. Just when it started to look like he might factor in Roma's plans for 2015-2016, word broke today that Strootman's ailing knee may require additional surgery.
Since collapsing in a heap in March of 2014, Strootman has missed 462 days and 54 matches worth of action, and counting. As if missing last summer's World Cup and enduring months of rehab wasn't bad enough, Strootman may be facing a life changing decision. Football Italia picked up on a Corriere dello Sport piece that indicates Strootman is facing a Sophie's Choice style dilemma.
Suffering from recurring pain in his knee, Strootman has been examined by Roma's medical staff, the Netherlands medical staff and even specialists in the United States, none of whom could come to a consensus on how Strootman should proceed. The CdS claims that someone in Strootman's camp has suggested or leaked word that his knee will, at the very least, require exploratory surgery to ascertain the source of this pain, which could then necessitate further corrective surgery.
Needless to say, three operations on the same knee in less than 24 months isn't good news; not for me, not for you, and certainly not for a professional athlete. Given the divergent opinions on Strootman's prognosis, the club has decided to leave the decision with Strootman himself, which is certainly admirable, after all he has the most to lose.
To say Strootman is facing a monumental decision would be a grave understatement. Nothing less than the very future of his career is at stake here. If the voices in his ear are wrong, both those advising surgery and those advocating for continued rehab, Strootman may never return to the pitch again, at least not as anything close to the player he was two years ago.
We'll keep you updated, but losing Strootman for essentially the third season in a row would be a dramatic blow to Roma's title hopes. Quite simply, there is no one on this squad who plays quite like Strootman, and if you watched Roma in 2013-2014, you know exactly how important those italics are to Roma's chances of, well, anything.