Atletico Madrid defender Juanfran will be out of action for an unknown spell following a hamstring injury sustained against Rayo Vallecano, the club have confirmed.
The experienced full-back was replaced following by Thomas Partey after just 36 minutes of Diego Simeone’s side’s 1-0 victory over neighbours Rayo, preserving their unbeaten start in La Liga this season.
An MRI scan has confirmed a muscular problem in the 33-year-old’s left leg but Atletico are unsure over a timeframe for his return at present.
The Spain international regained his status as the club’s first-choice right-back following Sime Vrsaljko's departure to Inter on an initial season-long loan deal.
However, his injury is now likely to present an opportunity for Colombia defender Santiago Arias to stake his claim for a starting position, following his arrival as Vrsaljko's replacement from PSV for €11m (£10m/$12.7m) at the end of July.
Juanfran initially began his career at Atletico’s cross-city rivals Real Madrid in 2003, but only made six first team appearances in his two seasons with Los Blancos.
He spent a single campaign at Espanyol where he won the Copa del Rey before joining Osasuna for a five-year-stint between 2006 and 2011.
His impressive showings in Navarre caught the attention of Atletico who signed him in January 2011 for just over €4m.
Under Simeone, he became a key member of Atletico’s most successful period in their history, winning La Liga, a second Copa del Rey, the Supercopa de Espana and the Europa League twice since his arrival.
He was also a member of their side who lost the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals to Real, missing a spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out in the latter.
On the international stage, he was a member of Spain’s victorious Euro 2012 squad, though he did not feature in the 4-0 win against Italy in the final in Kiev. He also played one game at the 2014 World Cup, in his side’s 3-0 victory over Australia.
Atletico next travel to Celta Vigo on September 1 before the international break and then resume their domestic campaign at home to Eibar a fortnight later on September 15.