Injured Witsel undergoes surgery but likely to miss Euros

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Bundesliga - RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund - Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany - January 9, 2021 Borussia Dortmund's Axel Witsel is assisted by medical professionals after sustaining an injury Pool via REUTERS/Ronny Hartmann

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian international Axel Witsel had surgery on a Achilles tendon injury on Monday that is likely to rule him out of the European Championship which is scheduled to begin in June.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder collapsed to the ground during the first half on Saturday’s 3-1 Bundesliga victory over RB Leipzig. There was no other player near him at the time.

“Today I had a successful operation and now I will be working hard to recover day by day and aim to return stronger than before,” Witsel posted on Twitter on Monday.

“With the support of my friends and family I will be back.”

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said: “Injuries are part of football but it is really sad it is such a serious injury.

“We will wait until the very last second to try and pick Axel for our European Championship squad. Axel always has a huge impact on and off the field on the group. With his 110 caps, he is important. I’m therefore not ruling him out of the European Championship.”

But Witsel, who turns 32 on Tuesday, is expected to be out for between four to seven months. The European Championship will be contested from June 11 to July 11.

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Pritha Sarkar