Real Madrid have struggled to keep pace with city rivals Atletico Madrid in this season's La Liga title race, and they've now been dealt a huge blow with the news that their captain and talisman Sergio Ramos could be out for up to seven weeks.
Los Blancos have conceded almost double the amount of goals that Diego Simeone's side have in the league this season, with Zinedine Zidane's men currently ten points behind the leaders.
The absence of Ramos - who has already missed six league games this season through injury - has undoubtedly impacted their title tilt, and Zidane now looks set to be without his talisman for a little while longer following the news he's been forced to undergo surgery on a knee injury.
COPE report that Ramos will miss six to seven weeks of action as he undergoes rehab following the operation, a spell which could see him miss as many as ten matches including both legs of their Champions League knockout tie against Atalanta.
In terms of La Liga action, Ramos will miss the home clash with Real Sociedad as well as their huge trip to Atletico in early March.
The Madrid captain had attempted to play through the pain barrier - participating in three training sessions with the first team - but having been unable to take part in Friday's session, the need for further medical attention has since become clear.
The injury setback is just the latest in a string of defensive issues facing Real at the moment, with Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez also currently sidelined.
Zidane has opted to field youngster Eder Militao alongside Raphael Varane in Real's previous two league outings, however, the young Brazilian is currently serving a one-match ban after he was sent off with less than ten minutes on the clock in Los Blancos' last league match against Levante.