Mariani: Strootman not close to full fitness

Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman recently returned to action after a 14-month injury lay-off but Pierpaolo Mariani admits he’ll only reach “full fitness” next year.

Strootman first went under the knife for his problematic knee last year in his homeland but after an unsuccessful surgery he was forced to be operated on once again by Mariani in Rome.

The Rome-based surgeon admits that he felt sorry for what the Dutch international had to go through and highlighted that he’s medical team are experts in cruciate ligament surgeries after helping a number of footballers recover from injury successfully.

“Here in Italy we are excellent [in the profession of surgery],” Mariani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Kevin himself was a bit doubtful at first, but then he sent me a text message apologising for being a bit unfriendly.

“Nobody looked for special insurances for the player because no-one would cover this type of risk. Consider [Francesco] Totti: I knew I was dealing with a treasure when I operated him, but I had confidence in what I was doing.

“I feel sorry for the time wasted with Strootman. After his first return to the pitch, even just by watching him on TV, you could tell something was wrong,” he added.

“I don’t know if he has any regrets. Some players don’t even say thank you. After all, since we’re surgeons, they may think everything we do is owed to them.

“Strootman will return the player he was before. He just has to get rid of some unconscious fears. He’ll have left all of that behind when he starts next season. Just like surgeons themselves do.

“Did you know that I operated on former Roma’s [Houssine] Kharja’s cruciate ligament and he was back on the pitch in 93 days? Now there’s a world record!”