Guerrero plans March HSV return

Hamburg’s Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero says he will overcome his

injury and fear of flying and be ready to play in the Bundesliga at

the end of March.

Guerrero told Kicker magazine’s Thursday edition that he’d

been working with two Hamburg physiotherapists and that his injured

left knee is giving him no problems. Guerrero tore ligaments in his

left knee and had surgery in September.

“We are building up the muscles in the left knee. We’ve been

working on the bike, I’d like to start running in the next few

days,” Guerrero said. “I have no pain. The knee shows no reaction,

it’s not swollen and it’s stable. … I am going to be the same

Guerrero, maybe even stronger. I am optimistic, I think I am doing

well. I will be making my comeback at the end of March.”

But Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia said he didn’t think such an

early comeback would be possible, adding that the interview “took

us all a little bit by surprise.”

“Paolo is a long way from playing, that’s a false

assessment,” Labbadia said.

Labbadia said it was “a pity” that Guerrero brought up the

subject of his fear of flying.

“We tried to take the pressure off him, but he’s brought it

back in,” the coach said.

The striker missed four flights back to Germany because of

his fear of flying. Guerrero told Kicker one of the flights

returned to Lima because he was suffering from severe stomach

problems brought on by gastritis, a result of his phobia.

“I have fear of flying but I also have fear that something

could happen with my stomach in the plane,” Guerrero told Kicker.

“First I want to be fit and then I will fly to Germany. I will fly,

no problem. I also want to get rid of this gastritis, my mother is

cooking special food for me. I am glad that Hamburg’s management

has shown so much understanding.”

Guerrero said he would be flying with the team again and that

he wanted to extend his contract with Hamburg that expires at the

end of the season.

To compensate for Guerrero’s absence, Hamburg has signed

Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who still hasn’t played in the

wake of knee and calf injuries.

Guerrero said there would be a “healthy competition” between

himself and van Nistelrooy for a place in Hamburg’s attack.