Kevin de Bruyne may miss the next four months of the season as Manchester City decide whether to operate on a hamstring issue, according to manager Pep Guardiola.
The 32-year-old was forced to leave Friday’s 1-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor after only 23 minutes due to a limp.
De Bruyne was forced to leave the Champions League final victory over Inter Milan in June due to an injury.
“It’s a serious injury,” stated Guardiola.
All of City’s preseason games were missed by the Belgian midfielder, who made his preseason debut in the Community Shield loss to Arsenal.
“We have to decide if he needs surgery or no surgery but he will be out for a few months,” added Pep, who confirmed De Bruyne’s issue is related to the same hamstring.
“The decision on surgery will be taken in the coming days and could see him miss three or four months”.
De Bruyne helped City win the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup last season with 10 goals and 31 assists.
He claimed earlier this month that he had played despite agony for the final two months of the season due to a hamstring issue, but Guardiola insisted that every safety measure had been followed before the match against Burnley.
“We could say don’t play but this injury could happen later,” the Spanish boss added. “Before I took the decision I spoke to the doctor, the physio and him. He said he felt good.
“I have to say the injury for Kevin is a blow for us. It’s a big loss. Kevin has specific qualities which you can lose for one or two games but, for a long time, it is really tough for us.”
“At the same time you have to look forward, you have alternatives there – of course different skills, as the skills from Kevin are irreplaceable.”
“We have a different talent of players and this is an opportunity; life gives you that. When there is an injury there is an opportunity for the other one, so I’m pretty sure they will take it.”
When asked if City would try to add more players before the transfer window closed, Guardiola responded, “We will see. After what happened, we will assess all of the possibilities.
De Bruyne’s injury is serious, but midfielder Rodri underlined that the team will support the Belgian during his recuperation.
“He is the one of most important players of the club. We will miss him a lot,” said Spain international Rodri.””We will try to support him in these moments. No one wants injuries. I saw him he other day and he was positive.””He’s an experienced player, he knows he has to recover. That’s the most important part. We will miss him but we have a complete squad to play the next few months.”