With FIFA World Cup set to start next month, many major teams are dealing with injuries to some of their key players. Here are some of the major injury updates ahead of the Qatar event.
Paul Pogba (France) - Pogba is the most high-profile name on this list. The French midfielder’s participation in France’s World Cup defence seemed to be doubtful following a knee surgery that prevented him from playing since his switch back to Juventus in August. He returned to training recently but he picked up another injury, which confirms his absence in Qatar.
Ben Chilwell (England) - Left-back Ben Chilwell pulled up with a hamstring injury during added time in Chelsea’s Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb, which rules him out of the World Cup.
Timo Werner (Germany) - Germany forward Timo Werner will not be able to play at the World Cup after he tore an ankle ligament in RB Leipzig’s Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Diogo Jota (Portugal) - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Tuesday that Portuguese forward Diogo Jota will miss the Qatar World Cup with a ‘serious calf muscle issue’ sustained during the Red’s 1-0 win against Manchester City. Klopp also confirmed that Jota doesn’t need an operation.
Reece James (England) - England’s right-back, Reece James injured his knee during a Champions League clash against AC Milan. Newly-appointed Chelsea manager Graham Potter had revealed that the 22-year-old will be in a knee brace for a month. After discussions with Gareth Southgate on Tuesday, it was decided the Chelsea full-back will not be a part of England’s squad.
N’Golo Kante (France) - France’s midfield enforcer N’Golo Kante has been ruled out of the Qatar World Cup after his hamstring injury relapsed. The 31-year-old Chelsea player last played in August against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.
Pedro Neto (Portugal) - The 22-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers winger will undergo surgery on an ankle injury sustained against West Ham United in October.
Boubacar Kamara (France) - The Aston Villa midfielder suffered a knee ligament injury in September that will keep him out until after the World Cup.
Arthur Melo (Brazil) - Liverpool’s on-loan midfielder picked up a muscle injury in the build-up to a Champions League clash with Rangers in October.
Raul Jimenez (Mexico) - Mexico’s Raul Jimenez has not played for club or country since August 31 following a groin injury. National team coach, Gerardo Martino, said during the last international break that he is planning to wait until the last moment for the Wolves forward, who had recently bounced back from a head injury.
Alexander Isak (Sweden) - Sweden’s 23-year-old striker Alexander Isak is the latest player whose participation in Qatar has been put under doubt. The Newcastle forward was revealed to have aggravated a thigh problem which he had picked up during training with his national team in the September international break. Newcastle manager Eddie Howe confirmed that Isak will not play for Newcastle this year again due to the setback.
Jesus Corona (Mexico) - The Sevilla winger suffered a fracture on his left ankle while he was training with the LaLiga club in August and underwent surgery. The 29-year-old was named in Mexico coach Gerardo Martino’s preliminary 31-man squad but Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli said he could return to training only by December.
Yuta Nakayama (Japan) - Nakayama will miss the World Cup after being injured in an English Championship game one day after being named in the national squad. He damaged an Achilles tendon playing for Huddersfield against Sunderland on Wednesday. Huddersfield said on Thursday the 25-year-old player needs surgery that will rule him out for the rest of the season.
Doubtful - Players racing against time to be fit for Qatar 2022
Son Heung-min (South Korea) - Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min suffered a facial fracture following an aerial clash with Chancel Mbemba during a Champions League game at Olympique de Marseille. Spurs said the forward will have surgery to stabilise the fracture.
Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) - Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku has injured his hamstring again after making a comeback after two months on the sidelines.
Paulo Dybala (Argentina) - AS Roma coach Jose Mourinho said the Argentina forward had suffered a “very bad’ injury when he tweaked a thigh muscle while converting a penalty against Lecce.
Kyle Walker (England) - The Manchester City defender had successful groin surgery in early October but the 32-year-old said he was confident he will fully recover in time to make the trip to Qatar.
Kalvin Phillips (England) - The Manchester City midfielder has been sidelined due to a shoulder problem but could return before the World Cup.
Ronald Araujo (Uruguay) - The Barcelona centre back opted for thigh surgery in late September, saying he made the choice to go under the knife to return to 100% “as soon as possible”.
Angel Di Maria (Argentina) - The Juventus winger is out until early November due to a hamstring injury which the club said would need around three weeks to heal.
Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina) - La albiceleste, who are already fretting over injuries to Dybala and Di Maria might also lose out on Giovani Lo Celso, a key player in its Copa America win and World Cup qualification. Lo Celso is a crucial part of Scaloni’s midfield formation along with Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo de Paul.
The 26-year-old Lo Celso was replaced during Villarreal’s LaLiga match against Athletic Bilbao and the initial diagnosis showed a muscle rupture injury.