LONDON • English giants Manchester City's hopes of silverware this season have been dealt a blow after Kevin de Bruyne was ruled out for about 10 weeks with knee and ankle damage.
The Belgium forward, who has impressed since signing from Wolfsburg last summer for £55 million (S$112 million), will miss City's next 12 matches at least, starting with the visit to Aston Villa in the fourth round of the FA Cup today.
He twisted his knee badly in an off-the-ball incident during the League Cup semi-final second-leg victory over Everton on Wednesday, a win which carried City through to next month's final against Liverpool.
But the knee ligament injury will keep him out of that Wembley date, as well as both legs of City's Champions League last-16 tie with Dynamo Kiev.
The 24-year-old could also miss the Champions League quarter-finals in April should City get that far.
De Bruyne tweeted: "Just got back from the specialist. I'll be out for around 10 weeks. I'll work hard on my recovery and hope to be back on the pitch asap."
Speaking to The Guardian earlier, his agent Patrick de Koster, said: "He's confident. Of course he is a bit sad that he will miss so many important games like the League Cup final and Champions League but Kevin would not be Kevin if he wasn't already thinking about playing again for City."
The prognosis will be a blow for manager Manuel Pellegrini, with City still battling for trophies on four fronts.
However, midfielder Fernandinho insists City can focus on the FA Cup and put concerns about injuries to one side when they visit Villa. "It's always difficult when you have a game in midweek to get to a final," he said. "It's hard to keep concentration but our team are very experienced to control this."
Villa are still bottom of the Premier League but enter today's game on the back of recent improvement in performances.
THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE