Bayern Munich have confirmed their Germany goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer will be out until January having undergone another operation on Tuesday after again fracturing his left foot.
The 31-year-old had only returned at the end of August after fracturing the same foot in April.
He suffered the fresh injury in training on Monday as Bayern prepared for Tuesday’s Bundesliga match at Schalke.
“The fact that Manuel Neuer has suffered a new injury means we are all very sorry for him”, said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the Bayern chairman.
“The operation went optimally and that is the most important thing now.
“Manuel will be available for us again, back at his old strength, in January.”
This is Neuer’s third operation on the same foot in six months after minor surgery for a toe injury in March and then again in April after initially fracturing his foot.
Headache for Germany
Neuer’s latest injury blow sparks concerns about Germany’s skipper nine months before the World Cup kicks off.
He last played for his country in a World Cup qualifier in October 2016.
Neuer will miss Germany’s key qualifier against Northern Ireland in Belfast on October 5, where a draw will book the holders’ place at Russia 2018.
With Neuer out, Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who deputised when Germany won the Confederations Cup in July, is set to fill in for the world champions.
Sven Ulreich will stand in for Neuer at Bayern until the winter break at the end of December.
Neuer will miss Bayern’s remaining Champions League group games, plus their league and cup double-header against RB Leipzig at the end of October and an away match at current Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund in early November.
Bayern confirmed Neuer underwent the operation at a clinic in Tuebingen, south-west Germany and has had a plate inserted in his foot.
The operation was carried out by Ulrich Stoeckle, the surgeon who has previously treated stars Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery and David Alaba.