Spanish maestro Diego Castro has stunned the A-League by refusing to complete the season.
The Perth captain won’t be part of the Glory squad leaving this week for a hub in NSW for the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign,
Castro has cited COVID-19 fears for his withdrawal from Perth’s travelling squad, saying his participation in the NSW hub would be “an unacceptable health risk for him and his family”.
The loss of the 38-year-old playmaker is another blow for the competition, which has also been rocked by Greek marquee man Panagiotis Kone leaving Western United and a knee injury almost threatening to rule out Adelaide United’s former Socceroo James Troisi for the rest of the season.
Diego Castro has pulled out of the Perth Glory squad. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Glory CEO Tony Pignata said the club “respected” Castro’s decision.
“It is very unfortunate that Diego will not be available for the remainder of the season,” Pignata said.
“But we understand this personal decision that he has come to after careful consideration.”
Despite having remained in Perth during the A-League’s suspension, Castro has not been training with the Glory squad since preparations for the season’s restart began last month.
Glory football director Jacob Burns was disappointed Perth had lost “a player and leader of Diego’s quality”.
“But his absence will create an opportunity for other members of what is a strong, versatile squad united in its aim to build upon last season’s historic success,” Burns said.
Perth are in fifth spot on the ladder ahead of their return match on Saturday against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford.
Troisi was due to have surgery on his right knee on Tuesday after struggling through training in recent weeks.
Adelaide United’s James Troisi has injured his knee. Picture: Adelaide UnitedSource:Supplied
Adelaide United director of football Bruce Djite said a decision was made for Troisi to have a “minor procedure”.
“We’ve been monitoring James’ situation for a number of weeks now,” Djite said.
Club doctor James Ilic expected Troisi to need about four weeks of recovery time.
“The problem James has had has been a consistent source of discomfort to him for some time and has prevented him training fully,” Dr Ilic said.
“The issue was a bony spur on the outside of his knee that was persistently irritating him during movement.”
The Reds, who currently sit outside the top six, are scheduled to meet Brisbane Roar at Gold Coast venue Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday.
Kone made the decision to return to Greece reportedly due to being unhappy with having to take a pay cut due to COVID-19 ramifications.
The United squad is serving a 14-day quarantine period in NSW.
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