Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata faces up to six weeks out after being withdrawn from Spain’s latest squad due to a hamstring injury he sustained against Manchester City on Saturday.
The off-season signing from Real Madrid signalled to the bench that he needed to be substituted in the first half of the Blues’ 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, after feeling discomfort in his leg.
The Spanish football federation confirmed later on that a scan had revealed a grade II myofascial hamstring injury.
The injury means Morata is likely to miss the whole of October, with a return to competitive action possibly in mid-November.
With Morata out, Michy Batshuayi is Chelsea’s only recognised striker.
Morata has made an impressive start to life in the Premier League, registering six goals and two assists in six appearances for Antonio Conte’s side.
The 24-year-old was a candidate to spearhead La Furia Roja’s attack in their World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Israel during the international break, but the injury has forced him out of contention.
Spain boss Julien Lopetegui has opted to call up veteran marksman Aritz Aduriz as a replacement, with four goals in seven La Liga outings to his name for Athletic Bilbao this season.
Lopetegui must also do without Andres Iniesta, after Barcelona confirmed on Monday that the midfielder will be sidelined for “around 10 days” with a hamstring injury he picked up in the closing stages of their 3-0 win over Las Palmas on Sunday.
The former world champions lead Group C by three points ahead of Italy, with two games remaining in the race for the automatic qualifying spot at Russia 2018.