The star midfielder sustained an injury during the Highlanders’ game against Chennaiyin FC.

In sudden turn of events, NorthEast United’s Federico Gallego has been ruled out for the rest of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season. The 31-year-old suffered an early first-half injury against Chennaiyin FC. He will not take any further part in the league for the remainder of the season, the club confirmed on Friday.

The former Uruguayan youth international is said to have a sustained a ligament tear in his left leg. However, it’s not an ACL injury, Khel Now has learned. “Federico Gallego is said to have sustained a ligament tear and it will be impossible for him to make a comeback before the season ends,” sources close to development informed us.

What is a Ligament tear?

A ligament is basically a tough band of fibrous tissue that connects bone to bone or bone to cartilage. Ligament tears takes place when they are extremely stiff and suffer a knock due to an impactful collision.

A ligament tear requires at least six to nine months to recover. But it could take up to a year before for an individual to resume full training for the particular sport.

Federico Gallego suffered an horrifying injury in the second leg of the semi-final against Bengaluru FC in the 2018-19 season. He returned to full fitness nine months later, in the second half of the 2019-20 season, but couldn’t make an impact as NorthEast finished 10th on the table.

Even in the 2020-21 season, the midfielder sustained an injury early in the first half of the season and missed four games in a row. He came back and played a big role in NorthEast’s resurgence. This season, he picked up another niggle during training and therefore didn’t play the Highlanders’ first two matches. He came back in the game against Chennaiyin and NorthEast looked like a completely different team. Once again, the Highlanders’ happiness was short lived as he had to go out after a challenge from Narayan Das.

On Friday, the club released a statement which read, “Midfielder Federico Gallego will be unavailable for the rest of the Hero ISL 2021-22 season due to a knee injury. The Uruguayan suffered an injury during the first half of the Highlanders clash with Chennaiyin FC at the Fatorda Stadium. The NorthEast United FC family is by his side and wishes him a speedy recovery.”

What’s next for NorthEast United?

Khel Now has learnt that the Highlanders will start their search for a replacement when the January transfer window opens. “The club has the option to either bring in a player now or wait until January for the winter transfer window to open. They might have to chose the latter, as they won’t be able to register their replacement right now,” informed a source.

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