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Atletico's Rodriguez Suffers ACL Tear in Argentina Friendly

Last night's round of internationals proved to be yet another nightmare for a top club coach. Atletico Madrid's Argentine striker, Maxi Rodriguez, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a meaningless friendly against Spain last night. The 25-year old is expected to be sidelined now for the remainder of the season after being carried off in the 16th minute of Argentina's 2-1 loss to Spain in Murcia. He will have surgery on Friday. Players and coaches alike blamed the state of the field in Murcia, a small city near Spain's Mediterranean coast. "The pitch cut up very easily," Atletico coach Javier Aguirre told reporters on Thursday. "Maxi told me that both Spain coach Luis Aragones and Argentina coach Alfio Basile did not want to play this game." The striker's injury seemed to come out of nothing: Rodriguez appeared to stumble over a clod of earth that popped out of the ground, yet he fell down writhing in pain. Real Madrid's Brazilian full back Cicinho suffered the same injury earlier in the year after stumbling in similarly innocuous circumstances. "The Spanish federation should have people who check the state of the fields," said Cicinho's Real and Brazil teammate, Roberto Carlos. "It is usually better to wait for the grass to take well before playing on it for the first time." From the start, Reuters said the grass appeared to come up easily, accompanied by sand. "Unfortunately, we are the unlucky ones with Maxi suffering," Atletico's Aguirre added. His loss is a big blow to us." Rodriguez is Atletico's leading scorer with three goals from five games. The Madrid team is fifth in La Liga, three points behind leader Barcelona.

Read the whole story at Reuters UK »

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