Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen is to undergo surgery on a thigh injury that could rule him out for up to five months.
The 29-year-old Belgium international, who is yet to make his competitive debut since joining from Arsenal in the summer, injured his leg playing against Russia at the World Cup in June.
Barcelona say recovery time from surgery is "four to five months".
That means he may not make his debut for the La Liga side until next April.
Vermaelen has struggled with injuries in recent years, having sustained an Achilles injury in 2010 and played just 21 times for Arsenal last season because of niggling problems.