PALERMO`S WORLD CUP DREAMS IN TATTERS
By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The powerful centre forward was vying for a place in Marcelo Bielsa`s squad for the trip to Japan and South Korea, but he suffered a freak injury playing for Villarreal on Thursday evening.
After scoring against Levante in the Copa del Rey on Thursday evening, Palermo jumped on a fence to celebrate with the fans, but when they surged forward the fence collapsed - causing Palermo to suffer a double fracture of his left leg.
Villarreal were not initially sure of the extent of Palermo`s injuries, but after taking him to hospital club doctor Fernando Andreu said: "It's worse than we expected.
"He was just hanging on the fence when it and the supporting wall fell down on him.
"I am still not sure how long his recovery will take but it will obviously be more than five months."
Villarreal chairman Fernando Roig was unhappy with the state of the stadium, saying: "I can`t unsderstand how an incident like this can happen. Now we have a seriously injured played because a stadium wasn`t in a decent condition."
Coach Victor Muniz echoed Roig`s sentiment, adding: "It`s unbelievable how this can happen. I can`t believe it yet."
This prognosis is sure to leave Palermo facing a race against time to be fit for the end of the season, but it seems doubtful that he will figure.
A loss of such a talented striker could cripple many teams, but Bielsa still has Gabriel Batistuta, Claudio Lopez, Hernan Crespo, Javier Saviola and Juan Roman Riquelme at his disposal.