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 28 respectively.
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.
City are next in action against Huddersfield at the Etihad this Sunday.