On Monday, AS reported that following the surgery to repair Eduardo Salvio’s broken foot, the youngster was unsure if he would return to Lisbon and undergo rehab with Benfica as his family desired, or remain in Madrid as Atlético officials preferred.
According to AS journalist Dani Hidalgo, Salvio and his family members got their wish, albeit temporarily, as the 20-year-old flew back to Portugal on Tuesday.
‘Toto’ will remain in Lisbon until his cast is removed. Once the cast comes off, the former Lanús man is expected to return to Spain in order to begin the rehabilitation process.
As far as what the Argentine’s hopes are for next season (please be forewarned that your heart may be broken if you continue reading this), Hidalgo told us, “[Salvio] would prefer to stay with Benfica. There’s no way Benfica will pay 15 million [euros] for him though, so it depends on if Atleti reduce [his] price or not.”
The recovery period from the surgery to repair the fracture sustained on the fifth metatarsal of Toto’s right foot is estimated at eight weeks, so he is highly probable to be fit in time for pre-season.
The only question now of course is, will he be training in Madrid, or in Lisbon this summer?
Rojiblanco directors may choose to offload Salvio at a discount and try to, at the very least, turn a profit on the €10m spent to acquire him in January 2010. They might take the forward’s desire to remain with the Águias into consideration next time they sit down with Benfica officials to bang out a final price.
Also likely to be contemplated during the decision-making process, is the looming passport headache at Atlético given the expected overbooking of non-EU spots ahead of our 2011-12 campaign.
The clubs may even decide on another one-year loan deal, which would give Benfica another season to evaluate Eduardo’s progress and monitor any lasting effects of his injury before committing to a hefty fee to take him on permanently. This would also allow Atleti a couple of extra months to sort out their passport issue.
What’s certain is that the blow to Salvio’s foot really could not have come at a worse time for the player, and for Benfica for that matter. Toto was completing his breakthrough as one of the Portuguese Liga’s revelation players prior to the fracture last Thursday that effectively ended his season.
In all competitions with his club, the striker had amassed 11 goals and nine assists in 39 appearances, including in the Europa League, a tournament Benfica is currently in the semi-finals of.
What do you think will happen now given Toto’s injury? Will he stay with Benfica, or return to Atleti?