Madrid - French international forward Ousmane Dembele has suffered a badly torn hamstring, his club Barcelona announced on Tuesday.
"Tests carried out on Tuesday on Ousmane Dembele have shown that the player has a complete proximal hamstring tear in his right thigh," the club announced. "In the next few hours a decision will be made on the treatment to be followed for his recovery."
The 22-year-old has struggled with hamstring problems. He had only just returned to training from an injury to the right thigh he suffered in November before suffering a fresh problem in training on Monday.
Dembele joined Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund in August 2017 in a deal worth up to 147 million euros. He has played 21 times for France and was part of the squad that won the World Cup in 2018.
That year he was also criticised for his lifestyle by France coach Didier Deschamps.
"It's up to him to be aware of all the demands of top-level football," Deschamps said. "I don't think he's fully aware of them."
The latest injury is similar to one Dembele suffered in 2017, in his first league start for Barcelona. Then he was out for five months with a ruptured tendon in his left thigh.
There was instant sympathy from another young French striking star.
"My brother, I know for you this must be too much and this is becoming unbearable, but you have to stay strong in spite of everything," tweeted Kylian Mbappe of France and Paris Saint-Germain.
"Of course it's easier said than done but I'll always be there to support you and I know you'll come back to amaze us."
Barcelona play Napoli in the Champions League round of 16 on February 25. France kick off their Euro 2020 campaign against Germany in Munich on June 16.
Injuries and poor form have recently reduced Deschamps' attacking options on the flanks and he has used Blaise Matuidi, a central midfielder, and Mbappe in wide positions.
Mon frère,— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) February 4, 2020
Je sais que pour toi ça doit faire beaucoup et que ça devient insoutenable, mais il faut que tu restes fort malgré tout.
Bien sûr c’est plus facile à dire qu’à faire mais moi je serai toujours là pour te soutenir et je sais que tu vas revenir nous épater ?? pic.twitter.com/BrVpX56hnl