Real Madrid are to seek a second opinion before sending striker Gonzalo Higuain for a back operation which could see him sidelined for around two months.
The 22-year-old Argentinian underwent hospital tests on Wednesday and Real are waiting to see if a different course of action can be taken.
Dr Carlos Diez, chief of medical services, told the club’s official website: “The player met with a specialist, the coach, the fitness trainer and the entire medical staff.
“After a period of five to six weeks, during which no improvement was seen, we all agree that he should have surgery.
“We must now decide what specialist to see for a second opinion and if we all agree, proceed with the operation.
“Should this be the case, Higuain will be unable to participate in sports for approximately two months.”
Hercules striker Nelson Valdez has admitted to being surprised by rumours linking him with a move to Real Madrid in the January transfer window.
The 27-year-old Paraguay international has impressed since heading to Spain from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, forming a fine partnership with former Juventus stalwart David Trezeguet.
Valdez told the Spanish press: “I do not know, this is surprising. It's more a pleasant surprise though and for me it's an honour.
“There are four great teams in the world and Madrid are in the first or second position.
“This interest is an example of the work that we are doing here. I know nothing of the interest, but I will continue to do well at Hercules and I am happy with this.”