Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale has been ruled out of Wales’ crucial World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland with a calf strain.
Real manager Zinedine Zidane had played down concerns about Bale’s fitness, saying he rested him for Sunday’s win over Espanyol as a precaution.
Bale joined the Wales squad on Monday and, despite sitting out training, it had been hoped he would be fit.
But the 28-year-old’s injury means he will not travel to Georgia.
His absence in Tbilisi on Friday and in Cardiff for the visit of the Republic of Ireland three days later is a huge blow to Welsh hopes of qualifying for a first World Cup since 1958.
Wales are second in Group D, trailing leaders Serbia by four points with two matches remaining.
Second place could be enough to earn Chris Coleman’s team a place in the play-offs, which will see eight of the nine runners-up in qualifying groups play for four remaining places in Russia 2018.