Cerezo Osaka announced today that Hiroshi Kiyotake got an injury in his gastrocnemius muscle during yesterday’s training session, likely to be sidelined for six weeks.
Kiyotake is known to be injury-prone as his number of appearances in the last season (18 games) suggests, but this time he got injured seemingly because of a clash between players while training according to supporters’ tweets.
With this injury, needless to say, he won’t be available not only for the ACL match against Guangzhou Evergrande which takes place this Wednesday, but also for the J.League opener against Yokohama F. Marinos on February 25. He is expected to come back in action before the league break starting at the end of May, but as Sports Hochi wrote in the headline of their article, it may become difficult for him to be selected to the national team for the World Cup.
Kiyotake injury is also a blow for the team. According to a calculation by an anonymous user on 5ch, Cerezo won 11 games, drew 4 games, and lost 3 games with Kiyotake, while they won 7 games, drew 2 games, and lost 6 games without him last season. This clearly shows the importance and contribution of him for the team as a whole.
He posted on Instagram, even before the club announced on the official website, as follows:
What are you doing since the last year? Getting injured again and again. I know there are a lot of people thinking like that, but I am also the one thinking so. I’ve been doing well since the training camp and my form has been also good, though. I honestly can think of nothing now. I will do my best to be back in good spirits again.
A possible candidate to take his place is Toshiyuki Takagi who already demonstrated his quality, especially with a goal in the Fuji Xerox Super Cup against Kawasaki Frontale. Atomu Tanaka, who has not been given a playing time so far, may also be ready to take it.