Former Real Madrid midfielder Gago returns to football

Former Argentine international midfielder Fernando Gago made his first appearance for new club Velez Sarsfield on Saturday, eight months after suffering a serious Achilles injury.

The 33-year-old was introduced as a 53rd-minute substitute in Velez’s 3-1 home win over Newell’s Old Boys in the Superliga Argentina.

Gago had his contract with former club Boca Juniors rescinded in March, having ruptured his right Achilles tendon during the side’s Copa Libertadores final defeat to local rivals River Plate last December.

Injuries have taken a punishing toll on the former Real Madrid and Valencia playmaker’s career. He suffered two previous left Achilles tendon tears, in 2015 and 2016 respectively, and a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee in 2017.

Gago has been capped 61 times for Argentina and was a part of the Albiceleste team that finished runners-up to Germany at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.