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Canizares ruled out by aftershave accident

MADRID (Reuters) -- A freak accident has ruled Spain goalkeeper Santiago Canizares out of the World Cup and forced coach Jose Antonio Camacho to make a rapid readjustment to his plans for the finals.

The Valencia player, who was set to be Spain's first choice keeper, severed a tendon in his right foot in a bizarre accident involving a bottle of cologne in his hotel room at the team's training base in Jerez on Friday.

A shard of glass dropped on to the player's foot and cut into the tendon in his big toe after he had accidentally smashed the bottle against the sink in the bathroom.

"I do not consider myself to be unlucky by any manner of means," Canizares told reporters at the team's training base in Jerez.

"From the start of my career I have had several strokes of good luck," he said. "But, just like everyone else, I have also had difficult times which I have had to cope with. Now I have to overcome this blow to my morale... and in my case that may take a week or just three days.

"But I have got over other things and I can also get over this. I will have to fight hard, but that is part of my job... no one makes their way in the world of football without having to overcome obstacles."

Canizares concluded his upbeat assessment of the incident by saying he believed that he would get another chance to go to a World Cup.

"I still believe that the best moments of my career are yet to come and, health permitting, I will be aiming to be successful in the next World Cup."

The 32-year-old, who has won 35 caps for Spain, was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery to repair the tendon.

Doctors said he would be immobilised for about a month before beginning his rehabilitation.

Spanish team doctor, Genero Borras, said that the player was devastated by the injury.

"Canizares is in shock," he was quoted as saying in sports daily Marca on Saturday.

"It is very difficult for him to take in an accident like this. This was going to be his World Cup and now he will miss it because of a simple domestic accident."

Spain coach Camacho responded to the news by calling up the uncapped Malaga keeper Pedro Contreras, but Real Madrid's Iker Casillas is now likely to be his number one choice ahead of Valladolid's Ricardo.

The decision confirms that Spain's former number one keeper Jose Molina of Deportivo Coruna is completely out of favour.

Molina has not played for the national side since making a gaffe in Spain's opening match of Euro 2000 against Norway and, despite his outstanding form for his club this season, Camacho has decided to overlook him once again.

For Casillas the last week has seen a remarkable turnaround in his fortunes.

The 20-year-old, who was dropped by Real coach Vicente del Bosque in the second half of the season, began Wednesday's Champions League final on the bench.

But an injury to Cesar saw him come on in the 68th minute to become the hero of the second half as he produced a string of superb reflex saves to help Real to hang on to their 2-1 lead against Bayer Leverkusen.

Cesar's injury meant that he was ruled out as a replacement for Canizares and Casillas has now been elevated from the Real bench to the status of Spain's number one keeper.

"It was a terrible piece of bad luck for Canizares... and I am certainly not happy because a teammate has been injured," Casillas told sports daily As.

"But football is like that ... Now Ricardo, Contreras and myself will have to fight it out for the place and any of us could be chosen.

"It is my first World Cup and I just want to enjoy it whatever happens."

The Spain squad leaves Monday for South Korea and Japan, where it is pitted against Slovenia, Paraguay and South Africa in the opening round.



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