Roma starlet Nicolo Zaniolo continues to recover from the torn ACL that he suffered in early September as he aims to be fit for this summer’s European competition.
The 21 year-old revealed today that he believes he will return in April — 15 months after he suffered his first ACL tear in January 2020.
“The first ACL tear was completely unexpected,” Zaniolo recounted.
“I’ve seen it happen to other players but I never thought that it’d happen to me so it was a huge blow. As soon as I planted my leg into the ground I knew that I tore my ligament — the pain was immense.”
“Even now, thinking about it, I get shivers. The world collapsed on me, all at once. I was doing well, it was a great year, I felt fit so it was a hard blow. But then I accepted that injuries are a part of this line of work and have to be taken into account. I looked deep down for all of the energy I had inside of me and got to work.”
After returning to the pitch nearly eight months later, Zaniolo admitted that the second ACL tear in September, which he suffered while on national team duty with Italy, was a bitter pill to swallow.
“The second one was worse,” he admitted.
“I had recovered from the first injury and felt good. I scored against Napoli and (Italy manager) Mancini handed me my first start with the national team. I won’t hide the fact that I spent an entire week in bed crying — I didn’t eat, I didn’t talk.”
“For the second operation, I made the decision to use a different surgeon. Prof. Mariani did a great job on repairing my ACL in January, but I didn’t want to repeat the exact same process that I had went through just months before that.”
“After I suffered the injuries, Totti stayed close to me. He told me to stay calm and rest assured — he also said that everyone will wait for me and that I shouldn’t be rushed to return.”
“I’m not in a rush, though. I visited Innsbruck (Austria) for a follow-up and now I’ll slowly start to increase the workload. I have an entire career ahead of me so there’s no need to force anything. At most, I’ll return in April — plenty of time ahead of the Euros.”
Finally, the attacker discussed what could be in store for his future.
Before suffering the two knee injuries, Zaniolo was one of the most highly sought after talents in football. Despite that, he has always maintained that he is happy and wants to remain in the Italian capital with the Giallorossi.
“I’m very happy in Rome,” he confirmed again to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’m at a big team and important club. I love the supporters and they love me. Furthermore, the club supports me and I haven’t thought about changing — there’s no reason.”