Roberto Baggio is almost certain to miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee reconstruction surgery, an operation which has prompted questions about his long-term future.
The Brescia Calcio playmaker faces up to five months on the sidelines after the operation in Bologna on Monday. A statement from the club said: "Roberto Baggio underwent an operation this lunchtime in Bologna, carried out by Professor Marcacci. Baggio, who was injured against Parma [AC] last month, has undergone a reconstruction of the cross-ligament on his left knee."
Doubt over return
After the surgery, Baggio's agent Vittorio Petrone cast doubt on whether the player would return to football, although there has been no comment from either Baggio or Brescia. The injury ends the 34-year-old's faint hopes of a recall to the Italy squad for this summer's FIFA World Cup finals. The former Juventus FC player featured in the last three World Cups, helping his country reach the 1994 final where he missed the final penalty in Italy's shoot-out defeat by Brazil.
Baggio's prospects of adding to his 55 caps looked healthy when he started the season in superb form, scoring eight league goals, including a hat-trick against Atalanta BC. However, a knee injury then sidelined him for three months and he hurt the same knee just 15 minutes after appearing as a half-time substitute in Brescia's Coppa Italia defeat at Parma last Thursday and was carried off on a stretcher.