A row has erupted around Mattia Destro’s injury problems, as Roma and Italy Under-21 medical staff blame each other.
The 22-year-old striker barely featured last season after left knee surgery, but it’s not clear when he’ll be able to play again.
“He had some sort of new injury with the Italy Under-21 squad in Israel this summer,” revealed Professor Giuliano Cerulli, who performed the operation back in January, on Rete Sport.
“As often happens with famous athletes, there are interests around him and his entourage pushed for a miraculous cure, eager to have him treated outside the Roma medical staff.
“He was checked by Doctor Cugat in Barcelona, who is a friend of mine. Mattia does not have problems linked to the surgery, but rather he is late in recovering muscular and movement around the knee. All he needs is a simple brusque movement to aggravate the problem and that’s what happened with the Nazionale.
“Is his career at risk? No, Cugat told me there was nothing to compromise his future. He just needed to recover the full functionality of the knee.”
Italy Under-21 chief medic Professor Angelo De Carli hit back and insisted the problem lay with Roma after the European Under-21 Championships in June.
“During his stay with the Under-21 side in Israel Mattia had no new injury, nor a relapse of the old one. Both the athlete and the Roma medical staff told me of numerous incidents of swelling, but Destro arrived in decent condition.
“He took part in individual training sessions and played only for fractions of the games. Mattia left the Italy squad after the Euros with his knee and muscular tone in better condition than when he first arrived.
“I don’t know fully what happened afterwards, though in some cases of meniscus surgery there can be considerable delays in recovery time.”
Many have remarked that Destro has put on a great deal of weight over the last few months, which could also be linked to the slow recuperation.
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!