Real Madrid have confirmed that club captain Sergio Ramos has been ruled out of action with a calf injury, explaining that his situation will 'continue to be assessed' rather than offering a definitive timeframe for his expected recovery.
Ramos was forced to miss three games in La Liga, the Champions League and Copa del Rey in November as a result of a gruesome broken nose and was more recently missing for the 5-0 win over Sevilla due to a red card he was shown against Athletic Bilbao the previous week.
It could be that Ramos's absence presents Jesus Vallejo, who celebrates his 21st birthday today, an opportunity to start a few more games.
The young centre-back deputised for Ramos in the aforementioned game against Sevilla, while also being named in the line-ups for La Liga games against Malaga and Las Palmas in November, his only other La Liga appearances of the season so far.
Real are due to face Celta Vigo when La Liga resumes this weekend following the winter break, with further games against Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia before the end of the month.
Los Blancos fans and staff will be praying that Ramos is fit enough to return for the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie against a rampant Paris Saint-Germain on February 14.