The injury which will deprive David Beckham of a place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ has been quite a talking point in the footballing world, and even the FIFA President has come out in support of the England midfielder.

34-year-old Beckham suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in his left ankle last Sunday in AC Milan's Serie A clash with Chievo. In a letter to the former Manchester United player, Joseph S. Blatter expressed his regret that the injury "may prevent you from playing in a fourth FIFA World Cup, which would be a record for an England player, and particularly for the physical pain you must be in at the moment."

A number of former stars have also been quick to show their sympathy for the Los Angeles Galaxy player. "Though I don't know whether we will ever see him in an England shirt again, I certainly hope that we do," said Sir Bobby Charlton, while the UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem in Beckham's honour, which ends with the lines "and it was sport, not war, his charmed foot on the ball/but then his heel, his heel, his heel..."    

Blatter, who himself played in Switzerland as a forward, remembers coming back from the same injury himself. "At the risk of coming across as too philosophical so soon after a set-back of this nature, it is true that time heals all wounds and that pain – both physical and mental – does go away. There are certain situations which one only fully understands much, much later," he added.

There is no date for the emblematic player's return to the England squad at the moment – a fact confirmed to AFP by Sakari Orava, the Finnish doctor who operated on Beckham. "Talk of training and playing is pure speculation," said Orava on Tuesday. "The only training that he will be doing today is how to walk with crutches."

Blatter nevertheless wished the player "a speedy recovery", and added that he was sure that Beckham would "get through this tough situation with your trademark dignity and courage."