From nearly moving to Inter Milan in exchange for Matteo Politano in early 2020 to experiencing a rebirth under Paulo Fonseca's three-at-the-back system to quietly becoming one of the best left-backs in Europe and showing out at Euro 2020 only to miss Italy's triumph over England after tearing his Achilles tendon earlier in the tournament, the past 18 to 24 months of Leonardo Spinazzola’s professional life have been a whirlwind.
With Spinazzola on the mend, Roma had no choice but to rely on the young legs of Matías Viña and Riccardo Calafiori at left-back, and while those players have had their moments, even on their best day, they can't hold a candle to Spinazzola. Viña (23) and Calafiori (19) have plenty of promise, but for a club with serious top-four ambitions, Spinazzola's experience, athleticism, and attacking prowess could put Roma over the finish line in their quest to return to the Champions League.
And earlier today, they received a jolt of good news, according to the Corriere dello Sport. Following his check-up with Professor Lasse Lempainen, Spinazzola cleared the penultimate hurdle before his return to action. Lempainen, a Finish surgeon who repaired Spinazzola's damaged tendon, gave Spinazzola the green light to progress to the next stage of his rehabilitation: gym and field work, which should set the stage for his final evaluations and an eventual return.
While he has been training/rehabbing individually over the past few weeks, today's medical examination puts the 28-year-old one step closer to returning to the pitch. In the immediate aftermath of his injury, Spinazzola was adamant he'd return to the fold by mid to late November at the latest. Following today's checkup, it seems like Spinazzola's timeline, which once seemed incredibly optimistic, may have been right all along.
With Spinazzola eyeing a November 25th return for Roma's Conference League match against Zorya, it won't be long before we see his beaming smile at the Stadio Olimpico again. And even if that target date is off by a couple of weeks, his return should bolster Roma in their pursuit for a place in Serie A's top four and a spot in next season's Champions League.
We'll pass along more updates as they become available, but at the absolute worst, it seems like Spinazzola will return to the fold no later than the winter holiday season.