Radamel Falcao, one of soccer's top goal scorers, could miss this year's World Cup after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while playing for Monaco against an amateur team in the French Cup.
A 27-year-old Colombian who finished 11th in FIFA Player of the Year voting announced this month, Falcao left the field on a stretcher Wednesday night after getting hurt when tackled by Chasselay defender Soner Ertek.
"I am not going to hide that my sadness is huge," Falcao said Thursday on Twitter. "My heart is destroyed. But I still hold faith of playing at the World Cup. God makes the impossible possible. I believe in Him".
ACL surgery usually requires a recovery time of about six months, and Colombia plays its World Cup opener against Greece on June 14. Japan and Ivory Coast also are in Group C.
"The player will have surgery in next few days. Doctors will do everything possible to speed up recovery," Monaco said in a statement.
Falcao has 20 goals in 51 international appearances, including nine goals in qualifying for this year's World Cup.
"He choose to go to Portugal, where he knows doctors he trusts, and we're following his condition," Colombian soccer federation President Luis Bedoya said.
Falcao was examined in Portugal by Dr. Jose Carlos Noronha, who told the Colombian radio station Caracol that swelling must subside before setting a date for the operation.
"I cannot say that he will miss the World Cup," Noronha said.
After Wednesday's game, Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri criticized referee Philippe Kalt for not taking firmer action against Chasselay's players.
"If Falcao has a serious injury, it's the referee's fault. It's not possible to let things go like that," Ranieri said. "When there are fouls, you have to whistle. When it's a bad foul, you have to get a yellow card out, and if there's another bad foul, then it's a red. Tonight I saw neither."
English national team winger Theo Walcott will miss the tournament after tearing his left ACL while playing for Arsenal against Tottenham in an FA Cup match on Jan. 4