Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United reportedly suffered from a back injury, prompting him to withdraw from a World Cup qualifying fixture between his national team Japan and Iraq.
The Manchester United playmaker, who gained notoriety during his days at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, hurt his back during training and chose to pull out from the match. Alberto Zaccheroni, manager of the Japan national team, first thought of playing the midfielder as a substitute but opted not to so that his condition will not worsen.
Kagawa spoke about the reports and dismissed claims that his back pain is serious, ruling out football predictions of a possible absence in upcoming matches – both league and nation. He said that he already went through treatment and his choice to pull out of the match is due to his desire not to pull down the team’s performance because of his injury.
Fulham recently signed a vital addition to their midfield – Giorgos Karagounis. The 35-year old Greece captain joined the Premier League side as a free agent after his contract with his previous club Panathinaikos expired.
Karagounis is best known for being a catalyst in Greece’s EURO 2004 title win. In Fulham, he will take over Danny Murphy’s position, who signed for relegated Blackburn Rovers after the Cottagers did not renew his contract.
Having played for Inter Milan and Benfica within the last ten years, Karagounis has a considerable wealth of experience in playing top-league football. On joining Fulham, he remarked his excitement to work with manager Martin Jol and the team.
Praising Karagounis for his experience and leadership abilities, Jol welcomed the midfielder’s move to the club. He said that he is delighted to work with a player who created a significant impact in his international career – he appeared in 120 matches for Greece.
Karagounis’ captaincy of Greece in EURO 2012 gave the team hope for a possible repeat of their successful EURO 2004 run. He scored the nation’s much-needed goal to eliminate Russia for the quarterfinals but was absent when the team lost to Germany.