Alexis Sanchez has been dealt a major blow after it was confirmed the on-loan Inter forward sustained dislocated ankle tendons while on international duty with Chile.
The 30-year-old was forced to withdraw from his side's goalless draw with Colombia at the Estadio José Rico Pérez on Saturday after 88 minutes, in what was his first match since the Nerazzurri's Champions League defeat against former club Barcelona.
A heated contest, that saw a red card branded to one of Colombia's staff, ended just before full-time for Sanchez in what will be crushing news for both Inter and the player himself. The Chilean had earned his spot in Antonio Conte's starting XI in recent weeks, a run that was only halted by the red card he received on his goalscoring full debut against Sampdoria.
It now appears as if he will be out for the remainder of the year, however, as confirmed on Chile's official website.
The statement reads: "The Medical Team of the Chilean National Team confirms that the player Alexis Sánchez dislocated his peroneal tendons of his left ankle with retinal compromise in the second half of the match with Colombia... he is released from the Chilean National Team camp and returns to Milan, where studies with magnetic resonance imaging and dynamic ecotomography will be carried out to make the best therapeutic decision."
Chile's head coach Reinaldo Rueda discussed the injury on Radio Cooperativa (via The Sun) after the match: "Alexis seems to have a suffered a small blow to the ankle. Tomorrow we will evaluate all aspects more thoroughly. We played against an opponent with different physical qualities."
No date has been set for his return, but fears are that he may miss the remainder of the calendar year.
Sanchez had hoped to revive his stuttering career at the San Siro outfit, after a miserable 18 months with United resulted in just five goals in all competitions. Despite being the highest earner at the club, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it clear the former Arsenal player was not in his plans, and was duly sent to Inter on a season-long loan.
It now appears as though Sanchez will miss crucial games for his new club, both in the Champions League and Serie A, as they bid to lift a first league title since 2010 and secure passage to the knockout stages of Europe's elite club competition.