BUENOS AIRES – Boca Juniors captain Fernando Gago has experienced a setback in his bid to get his surgically repaired right knee healthy in time for this summer’s World Cup in Russia, the Argentine club’s physician said on Wednesday.
Gago has been striving to recover and have the chance to earn a spot once again on Argentina’s national squad.
Boca’s team physician, Jorge Batista, said in a statement that during on-field rehabilitation work on Tuesday, Gago felt a sharp pain in the back of his knee joint and that an MRI revealed a problem with the graft healing process.
The 31-year-old midfielder underwent surgery last fall to repair a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee during a World Cup qualifying match against Peru on Oct. 5, 2017.
Gago, who played valuable minutes for Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, including the last half-hour of the final against Germany, was expected to need seven months to recover. But now he may not be healthy in time for the latest edition of soccer’s premier showcase, which gets under way in mid-June.
Prior to Tuesday’s setback, Argentine national team head coach Jorge Sampaoli said Gago was definitely being considered for a spot in his lineup.
“I’ve seen him train and beat a record in terms of his recovery. I saw him with a strong desire to play in the World Cup. I think he’s a player who’s very respected on the field. With his enthusiasm, he deserves consideration,” Sampaoli said on March 1.