AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy will be out of action for up to 10 weeks after undergoing foot surgery on Saturday.
It is a big blow for the Little Pharaoh, who has barely played this season due to a series of injury problems.
He had already been out of action for a couple of months with a fractured metatarsal in his right foot and it is this injury that failed to heal effectively.
Specialists advised surgery in Portugal to stabilise the fourth metatarsal in the right foot, taking some of the pressure off the area with the stress fracture.
Professor Niek Van Dijk performed the surgery and predicted a return to the playing field in around 10 weeks. That means El Shaarawy will miss several Serie A games as well as the Champions League last 16 first-leg clash with Atletico Madrid.
This would also mean El Shaarawy wouldn’t be back in action until mid-March, so it’s extremely unlikely he’d be considered for Italy’s 2014 World Cup squad as Italy coach Cesare Prandelli confirmed he’ll make his selection based on fitness tests in April.
El Shaarawy moved to the San Siro for £7.5m in July 2011 from his first club Genoa and has scored 14 goals in 63 league appearances.
Seven-time European champions Milan are currently 13th in Serie A on 19 points.