Just seven minutes had elapsed in Inter’s Europa League meeting with Cluj on February 14 when Diego Milito injured his left knee while trying to make a tackle. The Argentine immediately knew that he had done some serious damage to himself.
“The pain was ever so strong,” Milito explained. “I’d never had serious injuries before, and any injuries I had were always in my muscles: they do not compare with that pain.”
Subsequent scans revealed that the veteran forward had ruptured cruciate ligaments, prompting many pundits to wonder not whether he would return the same player, but if he would return at all. On Sunday, he answered that question emphatically.
Milito made his competitive return to action shortly after half-time in Inter’s Serie A clash with Sassuolo. Within 10 minutes he had put the Nerazzurri 5-0 up with a near-post finish from a Ricky Alvarez cross.
After teeing up Esteban Cambiasso for Inter’s sixth, Milito then put the seal on a perfect day for his team, and indeed himself, with another classic poacher’s goal.
“One would be hard pressed to find anyone who would begrudge Milito such a sensational comeback,” enthuses Goal‘s Mark Doyle.
“This is a player who is respected by all and sundry within Serie A, and now more so than ever. As Inter president Massimo Moratti said, Milito deserved this emotional return as both an athlete and a person.
“Indeed, it was wholly in keeping with the man’s character that he was keen to deflect all of the praise onto his team-mates.
“In that sense, Milito truly is a prince among men – and most neutrals would agree that it is great to have him back.”
|Congratulations to Diego Milito, Goal’s 228th World Player of the Week winner!
Pepe Reina – Napoli
@SG8Official: “Pepe Reina has done what no other keeper has ever done before. He saved a penalty from Mario Balotelli.”
Goal’s Kris Voakes: “Game-winning stop from a Reus free-kick against Dortmund before pulling off the seemingly impossible in 2-1 win at Milan.”
Cristiano Ronaldo – R. Madrid
@KayLMurray: “Cristiano Ronaldo is now the fifth top scorer of all time in Madrid’s history.”
Goal’s Gonzalo Ruiz: “Underlined just why Madrid were willing to make him the world’s best-paid player with five goals in two games.”
Yaya Toure – Manchester City
@Sportive23: “Jamie Carragher on Yaya Toure: ‘It’s like watching a full international player going up against under-16s.'”
Goal’s Sammy Lee: “Scored against Cluj before striking again during a man-of-the-match-winning display in the Manchester derby.”
Victor Valdes – Barcelona
@AlexandraJohnson: “Is it the time for Victor Valdes Arribas to finally get the recognition he deserves?!”
Goal’s Ben Hayward: “Saved a late penalty in the midweek win over Ajax before repeating the feat early on in the victory at Rayo Vallecano.”