Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba will miss the World Cup with France after suffering another injury setback, his agent has revealed.
The 29-year-old is yet to make a competitive appearance for Juventus since returning to the Serie A side from Manchester United this summer.
He had resumed training last week following a torn meniscus only to sustain another knee injury.
Pogba’s agent Rafaela Pimenta released a statement to French and Italian media on Monday saying the setback will keep him out until the new year.
“Following yesterday and today’s medical review in Torino and Pittsburgh, it is extremely painful to inform Paul Pogba will still need recovery time from his surgery,” the statement said.
“For this reason, Paul will not be able to join the Juventus squad before the World Cup break nor the French National Team in Qatar. If wishful thinking would change things, Paul would be playing tomorrow.
“But what changes things are hard work, resilience and discipline, all of which are the only things in Paul’s mind at these challenging times.
“Paul will continue working giving his very best to be back on the pitch for the fans and his team as soon as possible.”
A statement from Juventus gave no timetable for Pogba’s return, stating only that he needed to “continue his rehabilitation program”.
Pogba, capped 91 times for France, was a key part of their World Cup-winning campaign four years ago, scoring in the final as they beat Croatia 4-2.
One Manchester United player hopeful to be at the World Cup is Marcus Rashford.
Rashford was dropped from the squad due to his poor form but is playing very well this term.
His winning goal against West Ham on Sunday was another sign that he is back to his best.
The first-half header was his 100th for the Red Devils and it came one day shy of his 25th birthday.
Rashford’s goal moved him into a share of 20th on United’s all-time top scorers list in all competitions – he is the 22nd player to hit three figures for the club, tied with Joe Cassidy and George Wall on exactly 100 goals.
He is the first to join that list since Wayne Rooney in 2009, with the former Three Lions skipper going on to become the club’s record scorer with 253 goals in total.
Sir Bobby Charlton had previously held that honour with 249, with Denis Law (237) and Jack Rowley (211) the other men to break the 200 barrier.
Rashford can expect to quickly advance to 19th, with Sandy Turnbull’s 101 goals currently occupying that spot on the list, but then comes a big jump to Andy Cole on 121.
He ranks second among the current squad, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s two spells at Old Trafford yielding 145 goals in all and a share of 13th place on the all-time list.
With 63 of Rashford’s 100 United goals having come in the league, only 10 players in Premier League history have scored more goals than him before turning 25.
Rooney, Ronaldo and Cole all feature in that list, headed by former Liverpool duo Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler on 118 and 109 respectively.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane was one behind Fowler and one ahead of Rooney, with Romelu Lukaku the only other man to hit three figures on 101. Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton and Raheem Sterling are the other names in the top 10, with Robbie Keane level with Rashford in 11th.
Rashford has scored 22 European goals, with 12 in the Champions League and 10 in the Europa League including three this season. He scored in the quarter- and semi-final as United won the 2016-17 Europa League.
His remaining 15 goals are split between the FA Cup (seven) and League Cup (eight).
Rashford has not played for his country since his heartbreaking penalty shootout miss in last summer’s European Championship final against Italy, but after a prolonged slump his form could be returning at just the right time.
Kane will lead the line in Qatar barring injury but Rashford is one of several options for the other attacking places in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Recent call-up Ivan Toney trails only Kane among English goalscorers in this season’s Premier League, with eight alongside a pair of assists.
Phil Foden is a near certainty for the squad while Newcastle striker Callum Wilson and Leicester playmaker James Maddison have staked their claim by matching the Manchester City ace’s six goals this season.
Rashford, on four, is alongside fellow Euro 2020 fall guy Bukayo Saka and Leicester winger Harvey Barnes on four, ahead of England regulars Sterling (three) and Mason Mount (two) and fellow World Cup hopefuls Jarrod Bowen (two), Ollie Watkins and the recently fit-again Dominic Calvert-Lewin (one each).
Rashford also has two assists to his name and his seven goals in all competitions and six in his last 10 appearances, allied to his versatility and 46-cap international experience, could earn him the nod this winter.