Leeds defender Berardi out for up to nine months after ACL tear

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Championship - Derby County v Leeds United - Pride Park, Derby, Britain - July 19, 2020 Derby County's Chris Martin in action with Leeds United's Gaetano Berardi, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Action Images/Carl Recine

(Reuters) - Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi faces up to nine months on the sidelines after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during Sunday’s 3-1 win at Derby County, the Championship (second-tier) club have said.

The 31-year-old Switzerland international, whose contract expires at the end of the season, was withdrawn shortly after the half-hour mark at Pride Park and underwent scans on Monday.

Berardi made 25 appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side this season, helping them secure a return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence.

Leeds, who were confirmed as champions last week, will face Charlton Athletic in their final game of the season on Wednesday.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford