Portugal look certain to be without Cristiano Ronaldo when they take on Bosnia-Herzegovina for a place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
The Real Madrid player met with Dutch specialist Professor Niek van Dijk in Amsterdam today, after his club confirmed there had been no improvement in the ankle injury that has kept him sidelined for over a month.
Van Dijk, who operated on Ronaldo's right ankle in the summer of 2008, advised the 24-year-old to continue his treatment before returning for a fresh evaluation in 15 days' time.
That means the £80m man is likely to miss both of Portugal's play-off matches, with the first leg taking place in Lisbon on 14 November and the return meeting scheduled for Zenica four days later.
Ronaldo is also set to miss a number of matches for Real, including this weekend's derby with Atletico, next week's Copa del Rey return leg with Alcorcon, and, depending how the injury progresses, possibly the duel with fierce rivals Barcelona at Camp Nou on 29 November.
Ronaldo first sustained the problem during the UEFA Champions League match against Marseille in September and then aggravated it while playing for Portugal against Hungary, forcing him to miss Los Merengues' last seven matches - of which the Spanish giants have won just two.
Real had previously won all seven of their competitive matches at the start of the season, with Ronaldo playing in all of them and scoring nine goals. The Madrid giants are one point behind La Liga leaders Barcelona heading into this weekend's tenth round of fixtures.