Peru hopeful of Guerrero return for March World Cup qualifiers


LIMA, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) — Veteran striker Paolo Guerrero could be available for Peru’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Venezuela next month following a long injury layoff, the Blanquirroja’s fitness coach said on Wednesday.

Guerrero has been sidelined since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee while playing for Brazil’s Internacional last August.

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The 37-year-old former Bayern Munich player has been cleared to resume training by Internacional’s medical staff, raising hopes that he could be ready for Peru’s fixtures in La Paz on March 25 and Lima five days later.

“I am very optimistic about Paolo Guerrero, more and more so,” Nestor Bonillo, the head of Peru’s fitness department, told Radio Union.

“Today they gave him the medical clearance. That means his progress has been very good,” he added.

Guerrero is Peru’s all-time top scorer with the 38 goals in 102 international appearances since 2004.

The Blanquirroja are currently ninth in South America’s 10-team World Cup qualifying standings, having secured just one point from their first four matches.

The top four teams at the end of the qualifying tournament will earn an automatic berth at football’s showpiece tournament in Qatar next year. The fifth-ranked side will advance to an inter-continental playoff.

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