MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti)
Zenit St. Petersburg’s €40 million midfielder Axel Witsel is to return to full training Tuesday, a day before Zenit host AC Milan in a crunch Champions League game, the team said Monday.
Witsel picked up a hamstring injury ahead of Zenit’s opening Champions League group stage defeat away to Malaga earlier this month, and has since missed four games.
“From tomorrow, Witsel will train with the main group,” Zenit said on Twitter.
Injured midfielders Sergei Semak and Miguel Danny spent Monday training separately from the team, the club added.
Italian left-back Domenico Criscito and Belgian defender Nicolas Lombaerts are to prepare for the Milan game in protective face masks, Zenit said.
Criscito broke his left cheekbone in Zenit’s 1-1 draw with Lokomotiv Moscow on Saturday, while Lombaerts broke his nose in an aerial challenge in the same game.
He told R-Sport on Sunday he was willing to delay a possible operation to take on Milan.
“I really want to play against Milan and if the doctors give me the green light then I’ll head out onto the pitch at the Petrovsky on Wednesday in a special protective mask,” he said.
“Afterwards, most likely, we’ll talk about an operation.”
Criscito added he was confident a good performance against Milan could help him earn a recall to the Italian national team.
Criscito has 19 caps and was called up for Euro 2012 but dropped after police questioned him at the Italy training base in connection with a match-fixing scandal. All accusations against the player were later withdrawn.
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