Real Madrid will be without Alvaro Morata for at least a month after the Spaniard returned to the club with a hamstring injury picked up on international duty.
The 24-year-old, who came on as a substitute for Spain in their 2-2 friendly draw with England, suffered a grade 2 tear to his right hamstring, according to the club’s official website.
Morata, who only played 26 minutes at Wembley, now faces a month or potentially even longer on the side lines, missing several crucial Real Madrid fixtures in the process.
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It means the Spaniard will be absent from the upcoming Madrid derby, as well as important Champions League fixtures against Sporting Lisbon and Borussia Dortmund.
While the reigning European Cup holders remain on course to progress to the knockout phase of the competition, Dortmund currently lead the way in Group F, two points clear of Real.
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It means that, should Los Blancos fail to beat Sporting and Dortmund defeat Legia Warsaw, Zinedine Zidane’s team would have to settle for second place and a potentially tricky last-16 encounter.
Morata made the difference last time out against the Portuguese giants, scoring a last-gasp winner in a 2-1 win in Lisbon and his absence will be keenly felt in the return fixture.
The Los Blancos star could also be missing from the first Clasico fixture of the season, with Real due to face Barcelona in early December before another potential crunch encounter with Dortmund in the Champions League.
Muscle fibre injuries of this type tend to take up to a month to heal but in some instances, have been known to take even longer depending on the severity of the tear.
That means Morata could yet miss the upcoming Club World Cup in Japan, with Real Madrid due to play on December 15 and keen to reclaim the trophy won by the club back in 2014.
Re-signed from Juventus last summer after Real exercised a €30 million buy-back clause in the player’s contract, Morata has scored eight goals in 17 appearances for the Los Merengues since his return to the club.
As well as netting the winner against Sporting, he’s also netted crucial goals in narrow victories over Celta Vigo and Athletic Bilbao in La Liga.
Morata’s hamstring tear could also re-ignite the old debate about club vs country, with Spain national team coach Julen Lopetegui likely to face criticism over his use of the striker in a largely meaningless friendly.
Was Lopetegui wrong to bring Morata on against England? Have your say in the comment box below