Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undoing surgery on a knee injury.
The Dutch midfielder, a reported transfer target for Manchester United, has only just returned from an eight-month spell on the sidelines with cruciate ligament damage.
He made his return in November and made seven appearances before coming down with a fresh problem in the 1-1 draw at Fiorentina on January 25.
Roma initially said he would only face a short spell out with the injury but it has now been confirmed he will play no further part in the 2014-15 season.
Giallorossi boss Rudi Garcia confirmed the fears were true after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Empoli in Serie A.
“Losing him, especially after a long injury, is a catastrophe for us,” said Garcia. “The season is over for Strootman.”
The news comes as a major blow for Roma, who have drawn their last three league games 1-1 and are without a win in four. They have dropped six points off the pace in the race for the Scudetto, with leaders Juventus also having a game in hand and far superior goal difference.
It is also bad news for Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, who had been hoping to lure the Dutch playmaker to Old Trafford and was linked with a summer move.
Roma will attempt to return to winning ways without Strootman next weekend with a trip to Cagliari. Roma are 1.90 to win that game while Cagliari are priced at 3.66.