Stricken Vieira out for two months

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The Independent Football

The news this week that the Internazionale midfielder Patrick Vieira will not feature again until sometime early next year will not have got down well in the blue half of the San Siro.

The former Arsenal player suffered a muscle tear in his right calf during Inter's Champions League victory against CSKA Moscow this week and will miss the next two months of league action as well as the culmination of France's attempt to overhaul Scotland in the race to qualify for next year's European Championship.

Vieira, who has played just four competitive matches this season, angered his club side last month by representing France in their qualifying matches with Italy and Scotland before he had made an appearance for Roberto Mancini's side this campaign.

Internazionale will attempt to consolidate their position at the top of Serie A without the Frenchman as they travel to Palermo tomorrow afternoon.

Second-placed Juventus will be without the suspended Pavel Nedved as they face a Napoli outfit including former Juve striker Marcelo Zalayeta.

The Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said this week that tomorrow's opponents, Roma, would be "the only team that hypothetically I could go to in the future." Roma face a challenging week, with their derby looming on Wednesday against Lazio, after tomorrow's visit to San Siro.

In Spain, Real Madrid may welcome the return of Pepe from injury as they look to bounce back from defeat to Espanyol last weekend by beating visitors, Deportivo. Former Premier League players Gabriel Heinze and Arjen Robben remain sidelined.

Yaya Touré and Gianluca Zambrotta's return will aid Barcelona as they host Almeria tomorrow evening. Argentina midfielder Lionel Messi may be rested by coach Frank Rijkaard.