GdS: Return and immediate departure – Milan face Bennacer AFCON problem

By Oliver Fisher -

The photos and videos of Ismael Bennacer being back on the field at Milanello has rightly got fans excited about his return to action, but caution remains a necessity. 

La Gazzetta dello Sport (see photo below) reports that Bennacer is very much on the mend after the right knee injury that he sustained in May, early in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Inter.

He has not only completed the first phase of recovery, he has started moving towards a return to the pitch. The finish line for his full recovery is in mid-December, and it was initially set for 2024 which shows how well he is doing.

He works at Milanello, doing a bit alone and a bit with the team. Yesterday, for example, he started with his team-mates and then continued with an individual session while the others player the Primavera in a practice match.

When will he be back in competitive action? It is difficult to imagine he will be there against Atalanta on 9 December, but in the match against Monza eight days later he could very well be there.

Stefano Pioli would like to entrust the Algerian with the No.6 role, as the midfield director, but the new year poses some new problems. The African Cup of Nations will begin on January 13th in the Ivory Coast and the clubs are obliged to release players to the national teams.

It means that if Bennacer is called up by Algeria, he must got be part of the national team ahead of the tournament. The key point is that the recovery must be definitively completed. In this case the player will also have a say, because he personally can reject the call-up if he does not feel 100%.

It is unlikely that the coach choose to enlist him if he is only available for the final phase of the competition, with the final set for Sunday 11 February. Being in top condition is Bennacer’s only thought: he works hard to speed things up but without exposing himself to the risk of complications.

Algeria will be in action on January 15th against Angola, on the 20th against Burkina Faso and on the 23rd against Mauritania. Those commitments would see him miss Roma, Udinese, Bologna and others, presuming they reach the knockout stages as they are tipped to.

Tags AC Milan Ismaël Bennacer
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