Kylian Mbappe faces three weeks out of action with a thigh injury and will miss the first leg of Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League round-of-16 matchup against Bayern Munich on February 14.
The French star was hurt during the first half of Wednesday's 3-1 win at Montpellier in Ligue 1, having earlier had two penalties saved. PSG coach Christophe Galtier had initially suggested Mbappe had suffered a knock to the back of the knee rather than a muscle injury, but tests have since confirmed the true extent of the problem.
"After undergoing tests, Kylian Mbappe suffered an injury to the left thigh at the level of the femoral biceps," a club statement said.
If he misses three weeks as expected, Mbappe can also expect to sit out his team's French Cup round-of-16 game against Marseille. He would then face a race against time to return for a potentially pivotal Ligue 1 game away to the same opponent at the end of this month.
However, PSG will hope that Mbappe, who has scored 25 goals in 26 appearances for his club this season, will be fit for the second leg against Bayern in Germany on March 8. The news is a bitter blow for the French giant, which is desperate to avoid a repeat of what happened last season when it was knocked out of the Champions League in the last 16 by Real Madrid.
The Qatar-owned club has become used to injury crises involving its star players ahead of key Champions League games in recent years. A fractured metatarsal prevented Neymar from playing a full part in a round-of-16 defeat to Real Madrid in 2018 and a similar problem ruled him out of its loss to Manchester United at the same stage a year later.
PSG is hoping to win European club soccer's most prestigious competition for the first time after over a decade of trying since the Qatari takeover in 2011. The club has been eliminated in the round-of-16 in four of the last six seasons, although it reached the final in 2020, losing to Bayern in Lisbon, and was semifinalist a year later.
Mbappe was convinced to stay at the club last year and sign a new contract despite interest in him from Real Madrid, which hoped he would lead them to glory in Europe. Mbappe's injury comes just over a month after he starred at the World Cup in Qatar, finishing as the tournament's top scorer with eight goals including a hat trick in the final, which France lost on penalties to Argentina.
The timing is even more of a blow for PSG after it endured a frustrating end to the January transfer window on Tuesday when the team failed to process the paperwork to complete the loan signing of Hakim Ziyech from Chelsea. The Moroccan winger had already passed a medical and was set to add an extra option in attack for Galtier after the departure of another forward, Pablo Sarabia, to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
© Agence France-Presse