Radamel Falcao has become the latest leading player whose World Cup is either finished, or in jeopardy, following confirmation he will need surgery after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage.
With the tournament still five months away Theo Walcott is already out while Falcao joins Sami Khedira, Guiseppe Rossi and others anxiously waiting to see if they can recover in time. All have knee injuries.
Falcao, who cost Monaco £50m last summer, was injured playing fourth-tier side Monts Or Azergues in the Coupe de France on Wednesday. After scoring the opening goal in what proved a 3-0 victory he was hurt in a tackle.
One of the most feared strikers in Europe the 27-year-old was expected to lead the line for Colombia in Brazil, their first World Cup qualification since 1998.
Monaco have not said how long Falcao is likely to be absent for but recovery time for a serious ACL injury is usually six-nine months.
A club statement on asm-fc.com read: "Following the injury suffered on Wednesday, Radamel Falcao has had medical tests. It appears that the player has a lesion of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
"An operation will be necessary in the coming days. The doctors will therefore make every effort to allow Radamel Falcao to recover as quickly as possible."
THE OTHER WORLD CUP WORRIES...
Theo Walcott was ruled out for at least six months after his left knee sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament during the 2-0 FA Cup third-round victory over Tottenham earlier this month. Capped 36 times he would have been a key player for Roy Hodgson.
Guiseppe Rossi, who has just fought back from nearly two years on the sidelines after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2011, was injured by a bad tackle against Livorno earlier this month. Rossi, 26, had just won his place back in the Azzurri after scoring heavily for Fiorentina. Tests revealed "a stress to the anterior cruciate ligament previously operated on", according to his club.
Sami Khedira tore both his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral playing for Germany in November. The Real Madrid midfielder's rehabilitation is said to be progressing well and Nationalmannshaft coach Joachim Low has said: 'If all goes well, Sami's calendar will be full (this summer). He feels good. He's training gently on the treadmill. He's not suffered any setbacks.'
Australian Player of the Year Robbie Kruse is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. The 25-year-old Bayer Leverkusen striker was injured in training earlier this month. He had been lined up to lead the Socceroos' attack.
Bruma, the 19-year-old making a name for himself with Galatasaray and Portugal is another knee injury victim. The winger's season ended after ligament damage in a cup match last week.
Humberto Suazo, of Chile, has a shoulder injury. Now playing with Monterrey in Mexico the 34-year-old nearly missed the 2010 finals with a similar injury, the consequences of which was post-traumatic arthritis which compounded the effects of this injury.Reuse content