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Sunday, January 22, 2006
Knee injury ends Valeron's World Cup dream

MADRID, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Juan Carlos Valeron's hopes of making Spain's squad for this year's World Cup were shattered on Sunday when the Deportivo Coruna midfielder tore the cruciate ligament in his left knee during a Primera Liga match.

The 30-year-old playmaker scored the opening goal and then won the penalty that led to Depor's second in a 2-2 draw against Real Mallorca at the Riazor but his night was ruined when he sustained the knee injury in the closing minutes.

Depor said Valeron, who has been back to his best form in recent weeks, would be out of action for six to eight months.

Valeron has won over 40 caps and played in the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004.

He lost his place in Luis Aragones's squad after a loss of form last season but appeared to be working his way back into the reckoning with a series of fine performances for his club.

Spain captain Raul and influential midfielder Xavi face a race against time to make the World Cup finals in Germany after sustaining serious knee injuries earlier this season.

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