David Beckham has been ruled out of this summer’s World Cup after he snapped his Achilles tendon while playing for AC Milan last night. The 34-year-old England midfielder hobbled off the pitch with minutes to go in Milan’s crucial 1-0 win over Chievo – which put them only a point behind city rivals Inter in the race for the scudetto – after pulling up in the centre circle with no pressure on him.

He was treated on the touch line before being carried away on a stretcher, from which he was seen to be saying ‘it’s broken, it’s broken’ to the Milan staff. The injury, to his left leg, will keep him out of the game for five to six months, and the threat isn’t only to his season and international career – it could end his 18-year career in the game: ‘It's remotely possible he may be running in three months,’ said sports physician Dr Tom Crisp. ‘(but) the chances of him being fit to play for England are non-existent.’

‘We will wait for tests but it looks very serious,’ said Milan manager Leonardo. ‘The injury makes us feel terrible. He is an extraordinary guy and his performance in this game proved that yet again. I cannot enjoy this evening considering what has happened to David. But when the tendon goes you feel it straight away and he understood immediately that he had torn it and what that meant.’

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