The Saudi military flew national football team defender Yasser Al Shahrani to Riyadh for surgery after his punishing collision with team goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais during the kingdom’s surprise 2-1 win over Argentina in their opening game.
Al-Sharani was floored by his own team’s goalkeeper in the latter stages of the 2-1 victory as Al-Owais came out to punch the ball clear, before proceeding to knee the 30-year-old in the face.
The Al-Hilal full-back suffered a fractured jaw, broken facial bones as well as internal bleeding. His multiple injuries sustained has ruled him out of the rest of the World Cup.
And prior to kick-off in Saturday’s match against Poland, the Saudi starting XI showed they have Al-Sharani firmly in their thoughts. The team posed for their team photo on the pitch in a huddle as Al-Owais held up a shirt with ‘Yasser 13’ on the back.
Al-Sharani took to social media after he underwent surgery where he provided an update on his health. Saudi Football Federation President Yasser Al Mashal tweeted his thanks to the Ministry of Defence and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who ordered the flight. Al Shahrani, who has 73 caps for his country, was taken to the King Abdulaziz Medical City Guard Hospital for an operation on his pancreas, the federation said on “Yasser Al Shahrani successfully underwent surgery to his pancreas gland yesterday in Riyadh’s King Abdulaziz Medical City at the National Guard Hospital,” the federation said.
“He remains under the full supervision of the national team’s medical staff. The Saudi football family wishes Yasser a speedy recovery.”
In a short video shared by the federation after his surgery, Al Shahrani thanks King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed and the Minister of the National Guards Abdullah Bin Bandar “for his attention and care since the day I arrived and until now.”