Bad news for all Madristas during this international break as Sami Khedira, 26, tore his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in Germany’s 1-1 draw against Italy, according to Germany’s Football Association (DFB).
A collision with Italy’s Andrea Pirlo in the 67th minute saw a limping Khedira go off the field. He was rushed to the hospital after the game. The DFB have confirmed that the German midfielder has suffered an ACL tear and an MCL tear, putting his World Cup hopes in danger.
Sami Khedira is under looked far too often in Real Madrid’s star studded line-up. When, in truth, he’s been an integral part to Los Blancos’ evolving double-pivot structure (4-2-3-1). His role in the team is invaluable; offering the work ethic of an engine and the prowess of a warrior in battle.
While the acquisitions of Illaramendi and Casemiro have given the squad well needed depth, Sami’s work rate cannot be replaced. However, it will be interesting to see how Ancelotti responds to this blow in his midfield. As Xabi Alonso slowly regains fitness, the Italian now has a dilemma on his hands.
€32 million prospect
Asier Illarramendi is a prospect that Florenitno Perez has invested heavily in (€32 million) and now with Khedira out for the next six months, Ancelotti will have to decide who starts in center of the park.
According to Squawka, Illarramendi’s average passing accuracy in nine La Liga appearances is a solid 85%. Additionally, the young Spaniard has collected 12 interceptions in nine La Liga appearances. Imitating a style that resembles Alonso’s cool nature on and off the ball, Illarramendi may be able to develop more if he’s given the chance to fill in Khedira’s spot.
The logical pair-up Ancelotti can make in the middle can be with the consistent Croatian, Luka Modric.
The Sensational Croatian
Under Modric’s wing, Illarramendi can learn and develop his skills to a more consistent level. When the Croatian arrived at Madrid in the Summer of 2012, many fans questioned his involvement in the squad. Seen as surplus, Mourinho soon proved why he brought the talented Croatian on board. It seemed as if Modric proved his worth in the second-leg of last years quarter-final against Manchester United when he scored a crucial, and sensational, goal against Fegie’s men.
Fast forward one year and Modric has truly cemented himself as a crucial player for Los Blancos. According to Squawka, his statistics are fantastic: boasting an impressive 89% pass accuracy in 13 La Liga appearances. His pass accuracy carries purpose as well; setting up 19 key passes as well as setting up 2 assists in the process.
If there was a player who can re-create Khedira’s off the ball movement, it would have to be Modric. Out of 25 attempted tackles, the Croatian has won 19 of those cleanly. Impressive, given his small stature; however, it’s his work ethic that allows him to get into situations to dispossess players with ease.
Heartwarming support from Khedira’s teammates
Tearing your ACL is any athletes nightmare. No doubt about it. Not only that, but recovering from this career halting injury is, and can be, very tedious and very frustrating.
Many of Khedira’s teammates, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, ‘Saint’ Iker, Nacho, Marcelo and others have taken to Twitter and Facebook to send their wishes on a speedy recovery.
“Khedira, I wish you all the best for your recovery,” said Ronaldo on Twitter. “You’re a fighter and we wait for your fast return. The World Cup is waiting for you.”
Khedira’s compatriot, Mesut Ozil, also took it to Twitter to tell him “Get well soon Sami.”
Real Madrid’s ‘Saint’ Iker also gave his wishes on Facebook. “Mucho ánimo amigo,” said Casillas. “Tu puedes con todo!! Pronto estarás de vuelta.”
Joachim Loew, Germany’s head coach, had some motivational thoughts about the 26-year old. “He is a great personality and fighter on and off the pitch,” Loew said. “He always thinks positive. That will help him and therefore I am optimistic that he will be fit in time for the start of the World Cup in Brazil.”
Loew’s words should help re-assure many fans around the world of one thing: Khedira is a tough, hard working player. Traits such as these play a crucial role in how fast Sami will overcome his rehabilitation.
Just last week, Inter Milan’s Javier Zanetti, 40, made his first appearance since April 28, 2013 when he ruptured his Achilles tendon against Palermo. Many doubted that he would even step foot on the pitch again, given how he’s past his prime; however, he made a full recovery and returned on the ninth of November against Livorno. All thanks to his dedication during rehabilitation which, in turn, helped him return with the Nerazzurri.
If Sami Khedira is to recover in time for next years World Cup in Brazil, he will need to have the spirit, determination, and optimism that Zanetti had.