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Injured Sunderland striker receives letter of support from Real Madrid

Sunderland striker Duncan Watmore has received a letter of support as he fights his way back from a second serious knee injury - from Real Madrid.

The 23-year-old is facing another lengthy spell on the sidelines with cruciate ligament damage just weeks after returning from 10 months out with a similar problem.

However, he has been boosted as he sets out on the long haul back to fitness by the best wishes of the Spanish aristocrats in a letter signed by the club's director of institutional relations, Emilio Butragueno.

It said: "Dear Duncan, On behalf of our president, Florentino Perez, and those who work for Real Madrid, we would like to wish you a smooth and speedy recovery from your knee injury."

Watmore's father Ian tweeted a picture of the letter, adding: "Duncan went to rehab today to find this letter waiting for him. How classy is that from @realmadrid? I now hope they win the Champions League again!"

The former Altrincham player returned to action against Preston in September having been out since the start of December last year, but his comeback lasted only six games before he suffered a recurrence in the 2-2 Sky Bet Championship draw with Millwall on November 18.