Kevin De Bruyne will be out of action for around three months with a knee injury, Manchester City have announced.
The midfielder was hurt during a training session on Wednesday.
Tests have revealed the 27-year-old does not need an operation but the Premier League champions will have to make do without their star playmaker until around mid-November.
That means the Belgium international will miss City’s first four Champions League group fixtures as well as potentially crucial domestic games at Liverpool and Tottenham on October 7 and 28respectively.
It also seems unlikely he will be fit for the first derby of the season against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on November 11.
A club statement read: “Manchester City can confirm Kevin De Bruyne has suffered a lateral collateral ligament (LCL) lesion in his right knee.
“No surgery is required, and the midfielder is expected to be out for around three months. Everyone at City wishes him a speedy return to action.”
It is not the first time De Bruyne has had knee trouble having missed nine weeks of the 2015-16 campaign – his first at City – with ligament damage.
De Bruyne had only returned to full training last week after a delayed summer break following the World Cup.
He featured as a second-half substitute in City’s league-opening win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last Sunday.
Fears grew over the severity of the injury when the Belgian arrived at the premiere of the Amazon documentary series about Man City on crutches
City are next in action against Huddersfield at the Etihad this Sunday.
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