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Alberto Moreno has ACL surgery

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Villarreal Left Back will miss at least six months due to injury.

Villarreal CF v Sevilla FC - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Alberto Moreno had surgery today to repair a torn ACL. The expected recovery time will be approximately six months, which would have him coming back sometime in mid March to early April, at which point he would need to find some sort of match fitness. In essence, the defenders entire 2020-2021 season is shot.

This probably moves Alfonso Pedraza into pole position for the starting LB slot. What is more interesting to me, though, is that per Super Deporte the club is interested in moving Jaume Costa and finding another backup player for the left hand side. I’m not entirely sure how much I buy that, for a few reasons. First, the transfer priority right now has to be the CB position. We’ve seen in the preseason that when either Pau Torres or Raul Albiol or missing things get very shaky, very fast in the central pairing. Second, we still have Alberto on the wage books, so even if we move Jaume we will be paying three first team left back salaries this season. Costa’s deal expires in one year. Let him play out until the end of his deal, then decide next summer who among Quintilla and Pedraza you want to keep. (For the record, both Quintilla and Pedraza will need a contract extension before next summer if we are to keep them, Alberto is under terms until 2024 and still will likely be part of the first team plans.)

ACL recoveries are long and brutal. Villarreal will provide Alberto with the best facilities possible to do his rehab, but we are essentially asking a man to go from not being able to walk to being able to play at a La Liga level in six months. Speaking from experience, the balance and range of movement on a leg with a replaced ACL is never quite the same. You can still be quite successful as an athlete both one of these surgeries, of course, but part of the process of recovery is learning how to train muscles around your knee to do part of the job of your original ACL. Your ACL doesn’t just stabilize the knee, it has mechanoreceptors that tell your brain where your exactly your knee is at any given moment. This affects one legged balance among other things. You can certainly learn to compensate, but for the rest of our career your leg is simply functioning differently.

We wish Alberto a speedy recovery!