LONDON (AP) — Key Italy midfielder Riccardo Montolivo broke his left tibia during a friendly with Ireland on Saturday and will miss the World Cup.
Reading fullback Alex Pearce fouled Montolivo in the ninth minute at Fulham’s Craven Cottage and Montolivo was carried off on a stretcher.
“Montolivo has what we suspected, a broken tibia,” Italy physician Enrico Castellacci said. “I haven’t seen the X-ray yet to evaluate the extent of it but for a broken bone you can expect surgery.”
Montolivo was one of several players to be injured on a night of warm-up matches around the world, with Mexico’s Luis Montes also suffering a leg break after scoring in a 3-1 win over Ecuador. Mexico coach Miguel Hererra said after the game that Montes broke both his tibia and fibula.
Montolivo knew immediately what was wrong, as he was seen saying “it’s broken” as fellow players and medical staff hovered around him anxiously while he was still lying on the pitch.
“Psychologically, he was destroyed,” Castellacci said after Montolivo was taken to a London hospital for X-rays.
Last week, Montolivo married his longtime girlfriend, the model Cristina De Pin.
Alberto Aquilani came on as a replacement for Montolivo but he, too, had to come off before halftime complaining of dizziness after knocking heads with Stephen Ward.
Aquilani was also brought to a local hospital, where tests showed he was not seriously hurt.
Aquilani was replaced by Marco Parolo.
In Arlington, Texas, Montes was injured in the 35th minute after fighting for a loose ball with Ecuador’s Segundo Castillo. He was carried off the pitch, with teammates crying on the field when they saw the severity of the injury. Mexico’s Rafael Marquez was also taken to hospital for X-rays because of a hard hit on his right foot.
Marquez said later on his Twitter account that it was only a minor injury.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.