SUNDERLAND misfit Marcos Angeleri has undergone a knee operation which will rule him out of football for the rest of the year.
It is the second operation on the same knee in under six months for the Argentine international and while it means he will certainly not play again in 2011, no date has been put on his return, with the prospect existing that he could be out for the remainder of the season.
That will not be a blow to Steve Bruce’s plans, the Sunderland manager having already moved on in terms of right-backs with John O’Shea, Phil Bardsley and Ahmed Elmohamady all ahead of the South American in the pecking order for the full-back slot.
But it is a devastating blow for the player personally, who had hoped a summer operation in his homeland would solve the knee ligament problem which has stalled his Sunderland career and effectively any hopes of carving out a career in the Premier League.
Angeleri was allowed to return home early at the end of last season in order to undergo surgery on knee ligaments in his homeland – the player convinced he had the right medical team to clear up the persistent knee injury once and for all.
But not only was the operation not a success, more surgery has been required in England for the knee to stand a better chance of recovering properly.
Bruce told the Echo: “It’s a real disappointment for the lad after going back home in the close season believing he was going to get it sorted once and for all.
“He had every faith that the operation in South America would do the trick, but he’s ended up having to have another operation over here and that’s him definitely out for the rest of the year.
“We’ll just have to wait and see in the new year how things start to shape up.
“I feel really sorry for the lad because the knee has never really been right since he got here and although he’s been selected for his country a few times last season and managed to play in those games, the fact is that we’ve never seen the best of someone who we thought had the potential to be a very good player for this club.”
Angeleri’s £1.5m move to England from Argentine club Estudiantes has been nothing short of a disaster for the player in terms of his career.
Angeleri suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament more than two years ago now which ruled him out for eight months and – despite returning to fitness in February last year – his lack of first-team action meant he missed out on the World Cup in South Africa.
He signed for Sunderland in July last year and went on the Black Cats’ pre-season trip to Portugal but aggravated his knee injury during a friendly against Benfica, and Bruce says the problem has hampered Angeleri ever since.
Angeleri also failed to adapt to the more physical style of play in England, and made just three appearances last season – one start in the FA Cup and two substitute appearances in the Premier League.
Despite that, he was handed a shock recall by Argentina for the friendlies against the USA and Costa Rica in March, and while away on international duty he blotted his copybook by criticising Bruce and complaining about his lack of first-team football with Sunderland.
Angeleri has no future on Wearside and Sunderland have been looking to get him a move back to South America but the latest injury setback means it will be 2012 at the earliest before the defender can hope to end his luckless stay at the club.