Aleix Vidal: Espanyol winger's cardboard shin pads blamed for gruesome injury

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Small shin pads have seen a sharp rise in popularity in recent years, with Manchester City and England star Jack Grealish one of the more notable names to take the field in them.

As on-trend as they might be at present, there has always been discussion as to how well these mini shin pads actually protect players when compared to their full-sized counterparts.

One man who probably won't be giving his own micro shin pads another run out is Espanyol winger Aleix Vidal, after he suffered a horrific-looking injury to the lower part of his leg against Betis last weekend.

The most worrying thing about the gruesome wound sustained by Vidal - which, per The Sun, required 15 stitches to close - is that it didn't result from a fierce challenge or similar act of foul play. Instead, it seems that the player's shin pads simply weren't fit for purpose in the heat of a hard-fought La Liga contest.

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Photos taken from pitchside at Sunday's game appear to show that Vidal was wearing shin pads made of cardboard during the match - a material not known for its protective qualities. 

The 32-year-old ex-Barcelona man only became aware that he had suffered a serious knock when he realised that he could see a bone through the wound in his leg.

You can see images of both the injury and Vidal's woefully inadequate shin protection below. Be warned, though, they are not for the squeamish.

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Forced to withdraw after 81 minutes, the injury marked a sad end to the match for Vidal - who had actually opened the scoring in an encounter that eventually ended in a 2-2 draw.

The Spaniard was also unavailable for his side's 1-0 victory over Alaves on Wednesday evening. At time of writing, it is unknown when he will return to action.

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When he is fit to play again, though, expect to see Vidal sporting some more substantial shin pads than the flimsy cardboard ones that failed him so badly against Betis. 

Newly-promoted Espanyol could do with minimising injuries - especially avoidable ones - with a tough-looking La Liga campaign ahead of them.

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