Santa in rehab till Christmas

Shoulder surgery will force Western Sydney Wanderers FC striker Brendon Santalab to miss the club’s Western Sydney Wanderers FC’s World Club Cup tilt next month.

In a sad blow after the high of the Wanderers’ stunning AFC Champions League success, Santalab confirmed he will go under the knife this week, sidelining the 32-year-old until January.

Santalab dislocated his shoulder in the first leg but played on for another 15 minutes, before playing through “excruciating pain” for almost an hour in the second leg in Riyadh.

Popovic to give injured striker till game day

A meeting with the surgeon on his return to Sydney confirmed he requires surgery and is likely to be in rehab for two months.

“I got the bad news from the surgeon this morning, and he’ll repair it on Friday,” Santalab told the Daily Telegraph.

“I think I did enough damage in the first leg to mean it would need an operation whatever happened.

“It was just up to me whether to play in the second leg and take the risk of further damage that could have been the end of the season.”

It means Santalab will miss the club’s trip to Morocco for the WCC next month where the will play Mexican side Cruz Azul.

A victory in that match would then set up a mega clash with Real Madrid and although disappointed not to have that opportunity, Santalab says winning an ACL medal is prize enough.

“Missing out on something like Real Madrid is just part of the game really. I’m disappointed of course but to have an ACL winners’ medal, and to have played in both legs of the final, is just the biggest bonus of all,” he said.

“Looking back the risk I took was well worth it and definitely successful.”

The Wanderers head to Wellington for a vital clash with the Phoenix on Friday, desperate to get their Hyundai A-League season up-and-running after two defeats from their opening two games.