LONDON (AP) — Key Italy midfielder Riccardo Montolivo was injured during a World Cup warm-up game against Ireland on Saturday.
The AC Milan player had his left leg treated before being carried off on a stretcher shortly into the first half.
Injury details were not immediately clear but Montolivo appeared to be saying “it’s broken” as fellow players and medical staff hovered around him anxiously.
Montolivo was brought to a London hospital for X-Rays on his tibia bone.
“It seems serious, unfortunately,” Italian football federation president Giancarlo Abete told RAI state TV at halftime. “Let’s wait for the tests, although you could already tell from his initial reaction that it’s an injury that will keep him out for a while.”
Reading fullback Alex Pearce fouled Montolivo in the ninth minute at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.
Alberto Aquilani came on as a replacement for Montolivo but he, too, had to come off before halftime complaining of dizziness after knocking heads with Stephen Ward.
Aquilani was replaced by Marco Parolo.
Drawn into Group D at the World Cup, Italy opens against England on June 14 then faces Costa Rica on June 20 and Uruguay on June 24.