The Saudi Arabia national football team were dealt a cruel blow when their star midfielder Abdulellah Al-Malki was ruled out of their remaining AFC Asian qualifying matches against China and Australia. The injury occurred during the match against Japan, and at first glance, it didn’t look serious.

The player underwent an MRI on Monday and the worst possible results were revealed. It was found that Al-Malki has a devastating anterior cruciate ligament injury. This type of injury has a recovery time of anywhere from nine to 12 months. There are two types of treatment available, surgical and non-surgical methods. It is unclear at this stage if Al-Malki will require surgery.

Al-Malki suffers second serious injury within a year

The injury could not have come at a worse time for the Saudi team as they require just a single victory from their final two matches to guarantee themselves a spot at the FIFA World Cup.

This is not the first serious injury for the beleaguered midfielder. Last year, he picked up another serious leg injury that ruled him out of the Saudi El Clasico, which is a match between Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad. He was playing for Al-Ittihad last season but has since moved to the Saudi champions Al-Hilal.

The situation is tragic as last year he was ruled out of the crucial match, and this year history is repeating itself. Al-Hilal are participating in the FIFA Club World Cup and the main reason for them signing Al-Malki was that he could strengthen their squad for this international tournament. However, he has now been officially ruled out of the Club World Cup.