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Page last updated at 20:37 GMT, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

David Beckham leaves hospital in Finland after surgery

Beckham's crutches are just visible as he boards the plane at Turku airport
Beckham's crutches are just visible as he boards the plane at Turku airport

England star David Beckham has arrived in London after leaving the Finnish hospital where he underwent surgery on his ruptured left Achilles tendon.

The 34-year-old had the operation on Monday - 24 hours after suffering the injury playing for AC Milan that ruled him out of this summer's World Cup.

He is on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy and may be out for five to six months.

"I have appreciated so much all the messages I have received after the injury," he said in a statement.

"I want to thank from my heart all the Rossoneri. The club, the doctors, my team-mates and the fans."

"I truly thank you, the members of Milan, for what they have done for me."

Police were present to keep dozens of fans away from Beckham when he left the hospital in Turku by car accompanied by his wife Victoria, who had arrived in Finland on Tuesday.

The pair then travelled to a local airport where they flew off in a private plane.

"He's in London for the next few days, then he will travel to Los Angeles to continue his recuperation," said Beckham's spokesman.

Surgeon Dr Sakari Orava revealed that he had advised Beckham not to fly for "two to three days" but that the risk resulting from him doing so was "small".

He described Beckham as a "peaceful and nice person" and added: "Our nurses also said that he's a great patient and doesn't complain about anything."


Beckham's leg is expected to be in a cast for three to four weeks and in a support for a similar length of time but he has already started to use crutches.

Despite the injury, he will remain a Milan player until the end of June, the date at which his loan period expires.

A statement from the club said: "The rehabilitation plan has been established and will start immediately.

"For the first two weeks, the footballer must not put pressure on the injured limb and then he will do so progressively and partially for six weeks before doing specific therapy in the swimming pool.

"The plan foresees a complete recovery in six months, after which he will be able to play again."

Such a timeframe confirms that Beckham will not be fit in time to play in this summer's World Cup in South Africa, which is set to start on 11 June.

Beckham's doctor on surgery

Former Manchester United star Beckham, England's most capped outfield player with 115 appearances, had been bidding to become the first England player to feature in four successive World Cup finals. He shares the record of three with Bobby Moore and Peter Shilton.

The former England captain, who is in his second loan stint with AC Milan from his Major League Soccer club, was injured in the 87th minute of Milan's 1-0 win over Chievo.

Beckham was unchallenged when he suffered the problem and limped off before being carried away on a stretcher.

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see also
Beckham targets comeback after op
16 Mar 10 |  Football
Lineker plays down Beckham loss
15 Mar 10 |  Football
Q&A: Torn Achilles tendon
15 Mar 10 |  Health
Man Utd 4-0 AC Milan (agg 7-2)
10 Mar 10 |  Europe

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