Ilkay Gundogan returned to the Man City side for Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup fixture against West Brom for the first time since he ruptured his cruciate ligament back in December last year.
However, after nine months of gruelling rehab, the German midfielder’s comeback lasted just shy of an hour when an ‘industrial’ hack from a lunging Claudio Yacob left him in a crumpled heap on the floor.
City fans’ hearts then dropped in unison at the sight of Gundogan limping off the pitch, partially supporter by the club’s medical staff.
Mercifully, manager Pep Guardiola was able to offer an optimistic update after the final whistle of City’s 2-1 victory at the Hawthorns, telling press:
It (the Yacob tackle) is from behind, I don’t know if he touched the ball but fortunately Gundogan is coming back soon.
But I suffered for Gundogan at that moment, he was on the grass and you cannot imagine being eight months out fighting everyday alone with the physio and then to be injured.
In that moment it is so tough but fortunately it is not serious.
As if your sympathy hadn’t already gone out to him, we’d urge you to read this insanely good piece from Rory Smith for the New York Times which documents Gundogan’s long, lonely road to recovery in the grim aftermath of his aforementioned rupture.
Turns out a busted ACL is not much fun at all. The man quite literally climbed a mountain.
Oh, Yacob was shown a yellow card by the way.