By Football Italy staffThe football gods are punishing Italy’s most talented player, Simone Zaza, for his knee injury.
The 23-year-old was a constant threat to lead Napoli to the title last season and he has been forced to wait until his recovery from his knee operation to be included in the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia on Tuesday.
Zaza injured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on the right knee during Italy’s 4-0 victory over Slovakia in February and the injury has now required him to be sidelined for eight months.
Zaza, who was a key player in Italy’s success during their World Cup campaign last summer, has now lost out on playing for the national team in the World Championship.
“I have suffered a setback in my recovery, it is devastating to be forced to be out for eight to 10 months,” Zaza said in a statement on his official Twitter account.
“It is hard to say how long it will take me to be fit again.
I am still awaiting the results of the surgery and I will be doing my best to return to training as soon as possible.”
The news comes as Italy’s World Cup qualifying campaign was delayed due to the ongoing surgery.
Italy are set to face Slovakia on Thursday and the squad will be given the all-clear to play in the next round of qualifying.
Meanwhile, Napoli fans are already suffering a blow as their star striker, Simone De Rossi, will be forced out of the starting line-up for the game against Slovakia.
“We will be in a difficult position to cope with such a big loss, as Simone has already shown us a lot of resilience and strength in the past,” Zola’s agent, Gianni Nesta, told L’Equipe.
“We are going to need all the help we can get from the team, the fans and Simone himself, who has shown such immense talent during his three-year career.
“I am sure Simone is aware of the seriousness of the situation and is preparing to return in time for the first match of the World Tournament.”