Football: Soccer-More time needed for clarity on De Bruyne injury


BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Kevin de Bruyne’s participation in the European Championship will only become clearer in the next four to five days, said Belgium coach Roberto Martinez two days after his star player suffered a double face fracture.

Martinez told a news conference on Monday it was too early to be sure whether the 29-year midfield talisman could play in the tournament, where Belgium kick off their campaign against Russia on June 12.

De Bruyne fractured his nose and a bone around his left eye socket in Saturday’s Champions League final playing for Manchester City in their 1-0 defeat by Chelsea.

“Kevin had a different programme to the rest of the players, he was only going to join us seven days later because he was playing in the Champions League final,” Martinez said.

“But that programme has obviously been changed, he won’t be able to relax and rest just yet.”

Martinez said De Bruyne faced a series of hospital tests, returning first to Manchester before joining up with the Belgian side.

“We’ve got to be very cautious, and we will get more clarity in the next days, but I’ve spoken to Kevin and he was quite positive,” the Spanish coach added.

“We are very fortunate that even though he has a double fracture, he doesn’t need surgery. An operation would have made it impossible for him to play in the European Championship.”

“We don’t know if we can use him in the first game. I cannot give an answer because I don’t have any medical facts right now, we are still assessing the injury and over the next four to five days we expect clarity. Then we will know what the next steps for Kevin will be,” Martinez added.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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