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Real Madrid lose Llorente for January following groin injury

02:58 GMT+3 02/01/2019
The Los Blancos man, a key figure under Santiago Solari so far, is expected to be sidelined for three weeks minimum, with a longer period out possible

Real Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente looks set to be out for at least three weeks after he suffered a strain of the adductor muscle in his left groin, the club has confirmed.

Llorente enjoyed a rise to prominence towards the end of 2018 under new manager Santiago Solari, starting their last three La Liga games as well as their Club World Cup wins over Kashima Antlers and Al Ain.

But the 23-year-old will be forced into a likely month-long lay-off, give or take a week, after struggling with the injury during the mid-season break.

Madrid confirmed the injury is a "grade two" problem, meaning Llorente could miss between three and six weeks of football.

He looks likely to at least be out for games against Villarreal, Real Sociedad, Leganes, Real Betis and Sevilla, but a six-week layoff could also see him ruled out of contests with Espanyol, Deportivo Alaves and Atletico Madrid, with any further time out likely to see him miss the Champions League last 16 tie against Ajax in mid-February.

A native to the capital, the Spaniard signed up with Los Blancos as a teenager, and came through the ranks at their Castilla youth academy set-up.

He made his senior debut for Real Madrid B in 2014, before stepping up for his first appearance with the main team in a 3-0 win over Levante in late 2015.

However, with little in the way of regular game-time, he was subsequently loaned out to Alaves in August 2016 on a one-year deal, where he famously helped the club to a 2-1 win over Barcelona during the subsequent campaign.

Good form saw him recalled into Madrid contention for the 2017-18 season, where he won the Champions League title under Zinedine Zidane after making one appearance during their European odyssey.

Llorente scored his first competitive goal last month in the Club World Cup final against Al Ain, in which he also picked up the Man of the Match award for his performance.

At international level, Llorente has received no senior caps or call-ups, but has played nine times for the nation’s under-21 team, having made his first appearance against Estonia in 2016.