Vietnam's number one striker Le Cong Vinh needs an urgent operation on his knee but his V-League club Hanoi T&T said "wait."
Vinh, 24, who won the golden ball in 2004, 2006 and 2007 and helped Vietnam take the Southeast Asian championship in 2008, was diagnosed with broken knee tendons and third-degree torn cartilage at Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City via an MRI on Tuesday May 18, said Dr. Vu Manh Hung.
Dr. Tuan Nguyen, director of a sports medical center in San Fransico and a partner with HCMC Saigon Gia Dinh Sports Company, agreed with Hung's diagnosis. It was Dr. Nguyen who asked Vinh to have the MIR scan.
Dr. Tuan Nguyen said Vinh would have to be operated on urgently or he would have to end his top-tier football career.
It would cost some US$50,000 to have such a surgery in the United States. The amount was an alarming sum for Vinh and his club Hanoi T&T.
Until Wednesday May 19, it was still not clear where Vinh would be sent to for a successful and cost-effective operation.
Nguyen Quoc Hoi, chairman of Hanoi T&T, said, "Expensive doesn't necessarily mean effective. We need to carefully consider the situation to see where else (beside the US) Vietnamese athletes have had successful operations."
Hoi said they would wait for German doctor Nobert Moss to examine Vinh on May 24. Dr. Moss works at the Sports Hospital in Hanoi.
Meanwhile, Vinh said he wanted to go to Portugal as suggested by Vietnam's national football head coach Henrique Calisto. Vinh said the cost would be about $10,000, which would be quite affordable for him and his club.