Middlesbrough FC have lost midfielder Gaizka Mendieta for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.
The 30-year-old former Valencia CF, S.S. Lazio and FC Barcelona player was stretchered off during Sunday's 1-1 home draw with Portsmouth FC. Mendieta, capped 40 times by Spain, had a scan yesterday and the club today revealed he suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage.
The injury is a major blow to manager Steve McClaren as Mendieta has played a key role for the Premiership side since joining on loan in summer 2003. He helped Middlesbrough win the English League Cup last season and then signed a permanent contract just prior to the current campaign, which has seen Middlesbrough reach the UEFA Cup group stage.
McClaren has received positive news, however, with Dutch defender Michael Reiziger returning to training after a shoulder operation. The 31-year-old injured himself in only his second game for Middlesbrough back in August, after ending a seven-year stay with Barcelona.
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