National team players: “Petro, We are waiting for you in Russia”
The Greek National team players released a joint statement showing their support of Petros Mantalos.
Petros Mantalos suffered a torn ACL injury on Sunday in AEK’s Greek SuperLeague fixture away to Panionios, leaving the Greek player sidelined for six months. Mantalos will not only miss most of AEK’s season, but also Greece’s crucial World Cup qualifying playoffs against Croatia next week.
Mantalos’ absence will be a big blow to the Greek team as the AEK captain has been an irreplaceable option in Skibbe’s starting XI during the qualifying campaign. In 10 qualifiers, Mantalos played 763 minutes, third most on the roster, scored one goal, and provided three assists.
His teammates on the Ethniki released a joint statement in support of Mantalos after his serious injury. “We are truly saddened by Mantalos’ unfortunate injury, which will leave him out for our games against Croatia. It is important that he returns strong and we hope everything goes well with our team, so that he can join us in Russia next summer. We are waiting for you.”
If Greece surpass Croatia in November’s playoffs, the Ethniki will qualify for next summer’s World Cup. Mantalos is expected to return from injury in April/May and if all goes well, he will be available for the big sporting event in June if Greece qualifies.