Former Arsenal winger Ryo Miyaichi has suffered the third ACL rupture of his career, forcing him back into surgery once again.

Arsenal Training 1558947645
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND: (L-R) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ryo Miyaichi, and Marouane Chamakh of Arsenal warm up during a training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group match against Borussia Dortmund at London Colney on September 12, 2011. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

In England, we’re still waiting on the return of competitive men’s football. The Premier League doesn’t kick off until next Friday, but it’s a different story over in Japan, where the league season runs on a calendar-year basis.

Whilst Arsenal have been on holiday, former Gunner Ryo Miyaichi has been playing regularly for Yokohama F. Marinos, scoring three goals and assisting three in his last nine league games.

Unfortunately, that strong form was brought to a swift end during this month’s international break. Miyaichi went away with Japan for the East Asian Football Championship, but he was forced off injured in a match against South Korea.

Yokohama F. Marinos have since confirmed that Miyaichi has a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the right knee. He’ll require surgery, which has been scheduled imminently.

For those who haven’t been following Miyaichi’s career in the seven years since he left Arsenal, this is unfortunately a familiar story.

Almost immediately after departing North London for FC St. Pauli in 2015, Miyaichi suffered an ACL injury keeping him out for the vast majority of the 2015/16 season.

The winger recovered to make fairly regular appearances the next year, before another ACL injury ruled him out for almost the entirety of 2017/18.

Just when he’d made his comeback to the pitch, Miyaichi had a third ACL scare in May 2018. That time he got lucky, as the damage was less severe, and he only spent a few months on the sidelines.

But with Yokohama F. Marinos confirming another rupture, Miyaichi is now set for his third long-term ligament injury absence.

BIELEFELD, GERMANY - JULY 29: Ryo Miyaichi (L) of St. Pauli and Florian Hartherz of Bielefeld fight for the ball during the Second Bundesliga match between DSC Arminia Bielefeld and FC St. Pauli at Schueco Arena on July 29, 2019 in Bielefeld, Germany. (Photo by Thomas F. Starke/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BIELEFELD, GERMANY: Ryo Miyaichi (L) of St. Pauli and Florian Hartherz of Bielefeld fight for the ball during the Second Bundesliga match between DSC Arminia Bielefeld and FC St. Pauli at Schueco Arena on July 29, 2019 in Bielefeld, Germany. (Photo by Thomas F. Starke/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The 29-year-old’s last two ruptures kept him out for 247 and 245 days respectively, so a similar absence on this occasion would likely rule him out until April.

As mentioned, Japan use a calendar-year format, so Miyaichi’s current season is almost certainly over. His contract with the Yokohama F. Marino’s reportedly runs to January 31st, 2023, so the injury will also likely take him to the end of that deal.

Transfermarkt figures put Miyaichi’s total injury absences at 1,387 days, almost four entire years, and that’s a low estimate. That figure doesn’t include some of the Japan international’s more minor knocks and setbacks.

It was great to see the former Arsenal man back on the pitch for his country this month, and let’s hope he gets another chance when he’s fit again next year.

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