Football: Blow for Italy as Claudio Marchisio is ruled out of Euro 2016 with serious knee injury

Juventus' Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio being carried off on a stretcher after being injured during the Italian Serie A football match.
Juventus' Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio being carried off on a stretcher after being injured during the Italian Serie A football match.PHOTO: EPA

MILAN (AFP) - Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio will miss Euro 2016 after his club Juventus confirmed he has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

The Juventus star was stretchered off 15 minutes into the champions' 4-0 victory over Palermo in Turin after a challenge that left him rolling on the turf in pain.

Juve's victory took their Serie A lead over Napoli to nine points with five games remaining, but the shine of that achievement was tempered by the setback to Marchisio.

Subjected to an MRI scan immediately after the game, the Italian champions released a statement that Italy's fans - given Marchisio's contributions to the Italy team - do not want to hear.

"The scan confirmed suspicions of a ruptured anterior crucial ligament in the left knee," Juventus said on their official website. "In the coming days the player will undergo an operation."

A return to competitive action following an ACL rupture can take six to nine months, meaning Marchisio will be ruled out for the rest of the season and would miss this summer's showpiece in France.

It is a significant blow to the Azzurri ahead of Euro 2016, where Italy will be looking to make amends for two consecutive first-round exits from the past two editions of the World Cup.

In a picture taken at his home, Marchisio cut a gloomy figure in an Instagram post: "Just got back home. The news from the MRI only makes me feel bad, but these are the risks of our profession. I have the strength and the determination to come back strong and as soon as possible."

Juventus are aiming for a fifth consecutive league title, a feat they last achieved in 1935.

Marchisio added: "In the meantime, I still feel the joy of this great victory that takes us closer to our objective. Well done lads, never give up!"

Team-mate Leonardo Bonucci, who also plays for Italy, posted a message of support on Twitter: "Marchisio is a great person and true champ. It's a big loss."