Argentina’s Giovani Lo Celso has been ruled out of the World Cup with a hamstring injury for which the midfielder requires surgery, Argentine media reported on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old was replaced during Villarreal’s LaLiga loss against Athletic Bilbao on October 30 and scans confirmed that the midfielder suffered a hamstring tear.
Spanish media reported Lo Celso, who is on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, had exhausted all possible options to be on the flight to Qatar, including consultations with specialists from different parts of the world for a less invasive treatment.
The Argentine Football Association (AFA) did not respond to a request for comment. Reuters has also contacted Villarreal for comment.
Lo Celso was a key player in Argentina’s 2021 Copa America win and World Cup qualification. He is a big loss for coach Lionel Scaloni’s squad, who had previously said he was ‘irreplaceable’.
Scaloni must also assess the fitness of other injured players such as Paulo Dybala and Juan Foyth before announcing his final 26-man squad next week.
Argentina are in Group C and will begin their World Cup campaign against Saudi Arabia on November 22. They also face Mexico and Poland in the group stage.