Argentina's World Cup plans have suffered a new blow after midfielder Manuel Lanzini suffered a devastating injury that will rule him out of the tournament in Russia.
Lanzini has torn a ligament in his right knee, ruling him out of the World Cup, officials from the Argentine Football Association (AFA) confirmed. Lanzini was injured while the team trained in Barcelona, Spain, on Friday.
"Manuel Lanzini suffered, in today's morning training, the rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee," the federation wrote in a Twitter message.
The 25-year-old Lanzini, who plays for English club West Ham United, was expected to be a starter for coach Jorge Sampaoli. The 25-year-old, who had recently been linked with a summer transfer to Liverpool, now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The coach will now have to weigh his options and consider possible replacements as preparations for the tournament continue.
Among the potential replacements proposed by local outlets are Diego Perotti, Enzo Perez, Leandro Paredes, Guido Pizarro and Pablo Pérez. Ángel Correa, the Atletico Madrid striker who plays on the right, may also be under consideration. Racing Club's Ricardo Centurión is unlikely to be in the running.
Argentina’s national team is due to travel to Russia on Saturday for the World Cup. Argentina have been drawn in Group D alongside Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria.
The Albiceleste opens their World Cup campaign in eight days time against Iceland in Moscow.