Arsenal’s French right back Bacary Sagna has been ruled out of UEFA Euro 2012 after breaking his leg in the Gunners’ 3-3 Premier League draw against Norwich City yesterday.
Sagna broke his right fibula early in the match at the Emirates when Norwich’s Bradley Johnson’s foot impacted a helpless Sagna after the Frenchman had gone to ground. He briefly stood up and played the ball, but it was quickly apparent that the injury was a serious one.
Sagna is now on record as stating that he believes the former Leeds United man stamped on him on purpose, telling L’Equipe that “I think he did it on purpose. He stepped on my leg.” I don’t buy a word of that. The speed at which the incident took place makes it difficult to tell for sure, but it looked to me like an incidental coming together which would have been difficult for Johnson to avoid. Sagna’s assertion that he was targeted seems a little unfair.
While Sagna’s injury is a minor boost for Group D rivals England, his absence is a loss for Euro 2012. He is undoubtedly one of the very best right backs in Europe and, with 32 caps for Les Bleus now under his belt, he’s become a key player for France just as he is for his club. In some ways Sagna is a very modern full back, with athleticism to burn and a willingness to get up and down the flank with impressive regularity.
But he’s also aggressive and strong, making him a frightening and occasionally under-appreciated all-rounder. The European Championships will be a poorer competition for his absence, and I wish him a speedy recovery. It’s an injury he’s suffered once already this season, which may be both a blessing and a curse.
(Photo credit: wonker via Flickr)