sport

Del Bosque laments Jese injury

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque admits the serious knee injury that is set to sideline Jese until next season is a cruel blow for the highly-rated Real Madrid youngster.

The 21-year-old forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee early on in Madrid's 3-1 Champions League victory over Schalke on Tuesday night, putting a dampener on their progression to the quarter-finals as they completed a 9-2 aggregate triumph.

Jese travelled to Germany on Wednesday to carry out preparations for surgery and, although Madrid have not yet estimated how long he is likely to be out for, injuries of this kind tend to have a recovery period of at least six months.

Del Bosque said at a book presentation in Madrid on Wednesday: "His injury is a terrible thing. Now he has to work hard, come out well from a good operation and return as soon as possible."

Jese had been enjoying a breakthrough season at Madrid and had scored five goals in his previous six starts for the club prior to being named in Carlo Ancelotti's first XI for the visit of Schalke.

Such has been Jese's impact this season that he had been talked about as a possible contender to go to the World Cup with Spain, even though he has yet to make a senior appearances for his country.

Del Bosque preferred not to comment on that speculation though, save to say: "Jese is an under-21 international, he's playing this season at Real Madrid. Potentially, he was a player who could come to the national team, like many others."

Jese sustained the injury after just two minutes of the last-16 second leg following an innocuous-looking tussle with Sead Kolasinac.

He was carried off on a stretcher to be replaced by Gareth Bale before being taken away to hospital, where tests revealed the extent of the damage to his knee.

Speaking after the match, Madrid boss Ancelotti said: "He was unlucky. I think that the whole of Real Madrid has been unlucky.

"We are going to lose a very important player, a young man who has done very well this season and surprised everyone.

"That is football. Injuries come in a player's career and we will be close to him and support him and we'll be waiting for him next season.

"We hope to have him ready soon and we would like to send him our support.

"We are waiting for him and we wish him luck. He will certainly be an important player for Real Madrid after his injury.

"We are sad. We are very sorry about this, but these things happen in football."

Ancelotti added that the other members of his squad were despondent about the injury, saying: "The squad is a bit down about it. It is normal when that happens to a player, like when it happened to (midfielder Sami) Khedira.

"It is another problem for everyone and we will respond well because the team has character."

Jese, meanwhile, is grateful for the encouragement he has received from well-wishers since suffering the injury.

He wrote on his Twitter account: "Heartfelt thanks to all of you, thanks for all the messages of support...!"