Kevin De Bruyne facing up to four months out and may require surgery
The Belgium playmaker only lasted 23 minutes of the season opener at Turf Moor.
Pep Guardiola says Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne faces up to four months out and could require surgery on a hamstring injury.
The 32-year-old was forced off in the first half of June’s Champions League final triumph against Inter Milan and did not play a single minute of pre-season.
De Bruyne returned from that hamstring issue as a second-half substitute in the Community Shield shoot-out loss to Arsenal and captained the side against Burnley in Friday’s Premier League opener.
But the Belgium playmaker only lasted 23 minutes at Turf Moor, where seemingly out of nothing he signalled to the bench that he had felt something.
Guardiola said after the game at Burnley that the issue related to the same hamstring and would see him miss a few weeks, but it appears worse than first feared.
“It’s serious, the injury,” the City boss said. “We have to decide if it’s surgery or not surgery, but it will be a few months out.”
Guardiola said that decision will be taken in the “next days” and De Bruyne faces “three or four months out” if he goes under the knife.
“Ramon (Cugat) saw the images,” Guardiola said of his go-to doctor in Barcelona.
“He didn’t personally (do anything) and they have two or three doctors have the same opinion, more or less, what they have to do.”
Guardiola was speaking on the eve of City’s first ever UEFA Super Cup appearance, with De Bruyne’s injury leaving him clearly downbeat in Greece.
“I have to say the injury for Kevin is a sore blow for us, so he’s a big loss,” Guardiola said at the press conference previewing the clash with Sevilla.
“Kevin has specific qualities that you can lose for one game, two games, but for a long time is really, really tough for us.
“But at the same time you have to look forward and of course you have alternatives there with different skills because the skills for Kevin are irreplaceable.
“But you have different talent players so it’s an opportunity. Life gives you that.
“When there’s an injury, there’s an opportunity for the other ones and I’m pretty sure they will take it.”
Asked if the injury was down to bad luck or De Bruyne returning too soon, Guardiola shot back: “Give me 25 days of preparation and he will not be injured.
“Before I take the decision I spoke to the doctors, the physios with him and he told me ‘I feel good, I feel good’.
“So, I said ‘ok, it’ s better start then half-time (take him off) but unfortunately it happened.”
Phil Foden looks primed to step up in that role but the severity of De Bruyne’s injury could see City look at a signing before the window closes.
“We will see,” he said. “After what happened, we haven’t talked with Txiki (Begiristain, City sporting director).
“We will see the chances and possibilities. We will see.”
De Bruyne looks set to miss City’s entire Champions League group stage and potentially December’s Club World Cup on top of domestic matters.
The severity of the Belgium playmaker’s injury is a big setback and came as a surprise to team-mate Rodri.
“Well, I didn’t know it was that much, honestly,” he said. “What can I say? I mean, he is one of the most important players of the club.
“For sure we are going to miss him a lot. We are going to try to support him in this bad moment. No one wants injuries.
“I saw him the other day and he was positive, he wants to come back (quickly).
“He’s an experienced player, he knows he doesn’t have to run fast to come back. He has to recover – that’s the most important part.
“We are going to miss him but at the same time I can tell you we have a very complete squad to play these two months without him.
“And hopefully we can have him back because he has been so important these years.”