Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne faces 10 weeks out of action after damaging his knee and ankle against Everton.
The Belgian suffered his injury setback late in the Capital One Cup semi-final win over Everton on Wednesday, having come off the bench during the second half and changed the game with a goal and an assist.
His efforts helped to set up a trip to Wembley for City next month, when Liverpool await them, but cruelly De Bruyne is set to miss that occasion along with important Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup games.
De Bruyne wrote on Twitter: “Just got back from the specialist. I’ll be out for around 10 weeks.
“I’ll work hard on my recovery and hope to be back on the pitch asap. Thank you all for the supportive messages!”
City won the second leg 3-1 to take the tie 4-3 on aggregate, with De Bruyne’s appearance ending when the 24-year-old appeared to get his studs caught in the turf and then landed on his knee.
He stands to miss both legs of City’s Champions League last-16 clash with Dynamo Kiev, the Wembley clash with Liverpool on February 28 and the Premier League derby against Manchester United on March 20.
If the 10-week forecast proves accurate, De Bruyne should be back in contention to feature against his former club Chelsea on April 16.
He should also be back in time to play enough football to assure Belgium of his fitness ahead of their Euro 2016 campaign.
De Bruyne’s representative Patrick De Koster told Sky Sports News: “Kevin is sad. His dream is to always be playing football. He will miss games like the League Cup final and in the Champions League, which are important.
“But he knows they (City) are a good team, that the other players will do what they have to do, and maybe win the game for him, and also that (injuries) is what happens in football.”
De Koster detailed the injuries as a “tear in the ankle and also the lateral (knee) ligaments”.