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Arsenal medical director Dr Gary O’Driscoll has opened up on the devastating Achilles injury that Laurent Koscielny suffered in last season’s Europa League semi-final.
Heading to Atletico Madrid following a 1-1 draw at the Emirates, the Gunners needed to pull off an incredible result in the Spanish capital if they were to make it to the final in Lyon at the end of May.
However, tragedy struck inside the opening few minutes with the French defender going to ground under no challenge, with Diego Costa the closest player to him.
In agony on the ground at the Wanda Metropolitano, it was obvious that something was seriously wrong with the long-serving centre-back as O’Driscoll rushed onto the pitch.
Speaking in the Laurent Koscielny: Stronger documentary, the medical director said: “Laurent was in significant pain and he said to me: ‘He kicked me! He kicked me!’
“Diego Costa came to us and tapped me on the shoulder and said: ‘I did not kick him, I heard a snap.’
“The fact that there was an audible snap on the pitch and there was no-one near him just indicated that this was a serious injury and one that hadn’t been caused by a foul.”
Lying on the bed in the changing room as the team came in at the interval, O’Driscoll revealed that Antoine Griezmann, Koscielny’s international teammate, came to see his fellow countryman.
“There were three or four of us in the dressing room and Laurent was lying on the bed, close to tears,” he said. “It was an extremely emotional moment.
“The half time whistle went and suddenly all the players came in.
“The level of endearment, respect and love for Laurent was apparent straight away.
“All the players came over, there were lots of hugs and then the team went off for the team talk.
“I stayed with Laurent and then there was a very emotional moment when one of the players from the opposition came in, it was Antoine Griezmann.
“He walked in, went over, put his arm around him and the two of them had a fond embrace and a cuddle, and it was a prolonged one.
“Griezmann didn’t say to me, ‘how bad is this?’
“They looked at each other and they almost knew what the implications were.