UEFA Champions League holders FC Barcelona have announced they will be without midfielder Ibrahim Afellay for a long spell after the Dutch international tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in training.
The 25-year-old had recovered from a thigh tear suffered in pre-season friendly action but must now undergo surgery on his left knee, with the operation usually ruling a player out for six months.
The injury to the former PSV Eindhoven attacker represents a major setback to Blaugrana coach Josep Guardiola, who has recently lost Alexis Sánchez and Andrés Iniesta to hamstring tears. Afellay moved to Catalonia last January and has since made 17 Spanish Liga appearances.
Barcelona began the defence of their UEFA Champions League title with a 2-2 home draw against AC Milan and continue their Group H challenge away to FC BATE Borisov on Wednesday.
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