Colombia midfielder James Rodriguez is expected to be ruled out for the rest of the year after joining Bayern Munich’s list of casualties with a knee ligament injury suffered in training.
Rodriguez is the fourth midfielder at the German champions to be sidelined alongside Thiago Alcantara, Corentin Tolisso, Kingsley Coman and Arjen Robben.
“This is obviously bitter news. James is a very important player, in my eyes he’s our best, a creative mind, and we don’t have another one like him,” said Bayern striker Sandro Wagner.
The 27-year-old Colombian’s knee will be immobilised for ten days and then undergo physiotherapy and rehabilitation, Bayern confirmed on Wednesday, without giving a return date.
It looks unlikely Rodriguez will play again in 2018 with the Bundesliga’s winter break to start on December 23.
Rodriguez’s absence will prove a huge blow to a Bayern side struggling for consistency.
Niko Kovac’s men have lost three of their last six league games and dropped to fifth in the table after Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Borussia Dortmund to sit seven points off leaders Dortmund.
Rodriguez, the top-scorer at the 2014 World Cup and on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season, had been in good form with key goals in league wins against Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke and Wolfsburg.
But reports claim the Colombian is unhappy at Bayern.
He was dropped for Saturday’s defeat at Dortmund, reportedly because he arrived late to training, which the club later denied.
Meanwhile, Coman, 22, is on the verge of returning to the fold after tearing ankle ligaments in August during the first game of the season.
“I need two more weeks, then I will be back,” Coman said at an event in Munich.