Spain

Real Betis to be without key attacker until January – World Cup hopes over

Real Betis secured a valuable victory over Villarreal on Sunday night, yet the mood feels a little different following a confirmation of Juanmi’s injury diagnosis.

The former Southampton and Real Sociedad forward went down against Helsinki HJK last Thursday with what looked like a serious problem. Victor Ruiz was also injured and Luiz Henrique came off with discomfort too, with many pointing to the synthetic surface as one of the causes.

Come Monday, Real Betis’ worst fears have been confirmed. Juanmi has torn ligaments in his ankle, which will rule him out for at least three months.

It ends his hopes of a call-up to Luis Enrique’s Spain team for the World Cup in November and according to Marca, it seems unlikely he will play before the new year.

The immediate reaction is one of sadness for the player himself, who was one of the best goalscorers in La Liga last season. Starting in good form, he may well have had a shot at getting into the Spain side.

Equally for Manuel Pellegrini, it robs him of a crucial part of Betis’ mechanics. It seems likely that Rodri or Luiz Henrique will be asked to fulfil Juanmi’s role on the left. With a thin squad, Pellegrini will be hoping for injuries are kept to a minimum this season.