Luis Suarez is set to miss the majority of the season after the Barcelona and Uruguay forward underwent surgery on an injury to his right knee.
The 32-year-old had reportedly been struggling with an ongoing problem with the external meniscus in his knee for several weeks, with Barca announcing on Saturday they had decided to go ahead with on operation.
There were initial suggestions Barca expected Suarez to miss around a month of action, but it has now been confirmed the striker will be out for approximately four months following the surgery, which was performed by renowned knee specialist Dr. Ramon Cugat.
Losing Suarez, who has scored 14 goals in total this season, will come as a significant blow to Barca, who do not have great depth in the central striking position.
It also represents another issue for Ernesto Valverde, who is reportedly under pressure at Camp Nou, with media reports claiming Blaugrana icon Xavi has been sounded out over potentially taking over as coach.
It remains to be seen if Barca look to bolster their ranks up front in the January transfer window, or rely on Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati, Carles Perez and the currently injured Ousmane Dembele to fill the void.
As well as missing crucial games for Barca, including their Champions League last-16 tie with Napoli in February and the Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu in March, Suarez will also be unavailable for Uruguay's opening World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Ecuador.
Should Suarez return ahead of schedule, he may target the clash with Atletico Madrid – a match that could be crucial in the title race – in late April, though it seems more likely he will make his comeback against Espanyol in the derby on the weekend of May 9-10.