Manchester United right-back Antonio Valencia faces five months on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on his foot earlier this week.
The 30-year-old damaged a bone above his left foot during last month’s 0-0 draw with local rivals Manchester City but may have made the problem worse by attempting to play through the pain barrier. He played 81 minutes before being subbed off for Matteo Darmian.
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The news will come as a blow to Manchester United, who have already lost one of their full-backs to long-term injury this season.
Luke Shaw is not expected to return to action until the closing weeks of the 2015-16 campaign, at the earliest, after breaking his leg in a Champions League match away to PSV Eindhoven in September.
United fans react to news on Twitter
United fans have expressed their sadness with the news on Twitter. Valencia hasn’t been the most popular of players at Old Trafford in recent seasons - due to his frustrating performances - but supporters are still disappointed for the versatile winger.
Could be the end for Valencia at Man United
Valencia lost his first-team place to Darmian at the start of the season, but the latter’s patchy form means the South American has been forced to cover when asked by Louis van Gaal.
The Dutch coach is a fan of Valencia in the right-back position thanks to his impressive physical attributes and his work ethic.
But, unfortunately, there’s every chance this long-term injury could effectively spell the end of his Manchester United career.
Manchester United fans: should Louis van Gaal sign another right-back as cover for Matteo Darmian in January? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!