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Cañizares absent for Arsenal trip

Published: Monday 2 December 2002, 16.15CET
A knee injury will rule Santiago Cañizares out of Valencia CF's trip to Arsenal FC next week.
Published: Monday 2 December 2002, 16.15CET

Cañizares absent for Arsenal trip

A knee injury will rule Santiago Cañizares out of Valencia CF's trip to Arsenal FC next week.

Santiago Cañizares will miss Valencia CF's UEFA Champions League trip to Arsenal FC on 10 December after injuring his knee in yesterday's 0-0 Primera División draw against Deportivo Alavés.

Collision with Cruyff
The Spanish international was forced to leave the Mestalla pitch 15 minutes into the stalemate after a collision with Jordi Cruyff just outside the Valencia penalty area left him clutching his right knee.

'Very scared at first'
Early indications were that Cañizares had suffered severe ligament damage but tests today confirmed that the injury is not as serious as first feared as the ligaments are not twisted or broken. "I was very scared at first, but now I am happy that the injury is less serious than it could have been," said the goalkeeper. "I'll be back training as soon as the pain has gone."

Ever present
However, there is sufficient damage to rule Cañizares out for "between two and four weeks", meaning the keeper, an ever present in the Spanish top flight this season, will sit out the Primera División fixtures against Real Racing Club Santander and Villarreal CF as well as the Arsenal game.

Arsenal next
Andrés Palop will deputise for Cañizares as Rafael Benítez's side go in seach of a victory at Highbury. It is imperative that the Spanish champions avoid defeat in the Group B fixture as they could only manage an opening home draw against AFC Ajax while their English counterparts were winning 3-1 at AS Roma.

World Cup blow
A serious injury would have been a devastating blow for Cañizares, who only returned to the Spain squad for the 1-0 friendly victory against Bulgaria in November after a freak injury ruled him out of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Cañizares, who would have been his country's No1 in Korea/Japan, severed a tendon in his toe after being struck with a shard of glass from a dropped bottle of aftershave.

Last updated: 03/12/02 12.52CET

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