By Craig Scott

21st Jul, 2020 | 8:10pm

'Extraordinary' - Salim Lamrani details phonecall he received from injured Leeds ace Berardi

Marcelo Bielsa’s former translator Salim Lamrani has paid tribute to Gaetano Berardi after the Leeds United defender suffered a devastating injury blow at the weekend.

Berardi, 31, is fighting to earn a new contract at Elland Road but was hit with a huge setback in the win at Derby on Sunday when he was stretchered off the pitch with an ACL injury in his knee.

It means that Berardi could miss up to nine months’ worth of action for Leeds and could have seen his hopes of earning a new contract to play in the Premier League dashed.

Lamrani has now revealed in his tribute to Berardi that almost as soon as promotion was confirmed on Friday as West Brom lost to Huddersfield, the former Sampdoria defender was one the phone to him from Elland Road to celebrate.

“Gaetano Berardi is one of the greatest persons I have met in my life,” wrote Lamrani on his personal Twitter account on Tuesday. “I had the privilege to spend one year with him and I have unforgettable memories of his extraordinary human qualities.

“July 17, 2020 [was a] day of glory for the fans of Leeds United. A few minutes after the official announcement of the promotion of the club to the Premier League, Gaetano Berardi called me from the mythic stadium of Elland Road to share the historical accomplishment of the team.

“Such an act of goodness and nobility is priceless and I thank destiny for offering me his friendship.”

Berardi’s injury news is heartbreaking.

Sunday was supposed to be a day of complete celebration but we’re all going to remember it as what could have been Berardi’s final appearance for Leeds.

As much as we would love to see him stay on and be handed a new contract, we just cannot see Leeds doing that.

If Berardi is going to miss nine months, he won’t be back in action until next April and next season won’t be far away from finishing by then.

From a financial point of view, offering him new terms makes no sense at all but we’ve seen that Bielsa and Andrea Radrizzani do make emotional decisions too.

Maybe they’ll surprise us and offer the 31-year-old a one-year deal.

In other Leeds United news, Bielsa is yet to be consulted but Andrea Radrizzani wants to sign this available goal machine.