Injuries are part and parcel of a footballer’s life. But repeated injuries can take a toll on a player’s life and more importantly on the career. Deportivo Alaves defender Rodrigo Ely had his fair share of it. The last season was especially a hard one on the Brazilian as he could play only five games with three injuries that sidelined him for close to eight months.
This season, he started well in Alaves defence. But a hamstring injury again forced him out for one and half months which disrupted his progress. “We played a pre-season friendly match and I felt some pain but I did not know how the situation was. They ran a lot of tests and in the end, we decided that the best thing would be to go down the surgery route because if I didn’t I would have a worse problem in two or three years. I think we took the right decision and I’m feeling good for now. I’m enjoying myself again in this league, I enjoy football and that’s what’s important,” said Ely.
It was not just the pain he had to go through but missing important matches was another factor he had to deal with. But his wife and family eased the difficult period. “For sure, my wife helped me a lot, especially in the first few months after the operation. In the first few months, you depend totally on others and she helped me and took care of me and my daughters. That’s very good for me, for my family for my performances on the pitch and for the way I can play on the pitch,” said the former AC Milan defender.
The 26-year-old made his comeback against SD Eibar in November and since then, Ely has again become an important cog in the team. Now that injuries are in the past, his first target is to ensure survival for Alaves, who have been in a spot of bother in the La Liga this season. Although the Babazorros started the season well with a win over Levante in the opening match and drew against Espanyol and Getafe in the next two, the Asier Garitano coached side lost steam.
At present, Alaves are placed 14th in the league with just 23 points from 20 games — only seven points clear of the relegation zone. They, although started the second half of the league with a 1-0 win over Levante, Alaves have some tough matches coming up. Alaves face Villareal (January 25) and Sevilla (February 2) in the next two matches and they will have to fight tooth and nail to stave off relegation. While survival is the immediate target, Ely focuses on bigger goals.
“I believe that the goal is always to pick up as many points as possible quickly to ensure survival,” said Ely. “And then, if there’s a month, two or three left, then why not dream about something bigger? We all know LaLiga is an extremely tight competition and that there are some very good teams out there but we can always dream of achieving something big with hard work and sacrifice.”
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