Leonardo Spinazzola was stretchered off the pitch in tears after suffering an injury in Italy’s 2-1 win over Belgium in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals on Friday.
The Roma wing-back had been arguably Italy’s best player of the tournament so far, and was having another good game until disaster struck.
Spinazzola gave way in the final 15 minutes of the match and had to be carried off the pitch on a stretcher. Covering his face, it was clear he was in emotional trauma as well as suffering from the physical impact of the injury.
According to Sky Sport Italia, he has ruptured his Achilles tendon, which means he has probably played not just his last game of Euro 2020, but the entire calendar year of 2021.
The recovery period estimated for the dynamic right-footer is anywhere between four and six months – or possibly even up to a whole year.
It comes just as he was getting into a stride on the European stage, attracting admiration from all over the continent.
His injury gives Roma a dilemma, as they only have the young Riccardo Calafiori as cover in his position.
Any assessments of how to replace Spinazzola will have to wait, though. At present, the overriding thoughts are those of sympathy towards a great player who has been plagued with such issues throughout his career.
Best wishes for a full recovery, whenever that may be, Leo.