Real Madrid have been a dealt a major blow after reports emerged indicating right-back Dani Carvajal could be sidelined until at least December because of pericarditis.
According to Marca, the heart condition is set to keep him out of action "for a minimum of two months." During this period away from the game he will not be permitted to exercise.
Real announced that Spain international Carvajal had been diagnosed with a "viral pericardium infection" last week.
As a result he missed Los Blancos' final match before the international break, a 2-0 defeat of Espanyol on Sunday.
Carvajal was replaced at right-back by 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi, who looked impressive on his La Liga debut.
B/R Football @brfootball
Real Madrid’s 18-year-old Moroccan right-back Achraf Hakimi makes his La Liga debut today against Espanyol 🇲🇦 https://t.co/yndTPttZNp2017-10-1 17:34:17
The Moroccan youngster could now find himself being granted much more game time than he expected before Christmas to cover for 25-year-old Carvajal.
Nacho is also able to play at right-back, so manager Zinedine Zidane has options despite the latest fitness blow to his squad.
However, Carvajal is arguably the best right-back in world football at the moment and has played a key role in Real's successes over the last few seasons.
His return will be eagerly awaited, but the Madrid outfit will have to cope without him for at least two months as they look to gain ground on Barcelona in La Liga.