David Beckham has been ruled out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ after tearing his Achilles tendon during AC Milan's Serie A game with Chievo tonight.
Beckham sustained the injury without coming into contact with anyone else and he limped to the sidelines for treatment in a match Milan went on to win 1-0.
Milan coach Leonardo said after the game: "Beckham's injury makes us feel terrible. He is an extraordinary guy and today's game proves it yet again.
"I cannot enjoy this evening considering this serious injury. David understood immediately that he had torn his Achilles tendon."
AC Milan midfielder Ignazio Abate added: "Beckham is not well. To see him suffer like that has really touched us."
Clarence Seedorf found it hard to celebrate his match-winning strike knowing that Beckham could have a long injury lay-off. "It's always ugly to be out because of an injury," said the Dutchman.
"But it will mean that we will all need to give everything we have even for those who will not be with us. They deserve that for what they have done so far this season."
The news will come as a devastating blow to Beckham who was hoping to become the first player to appear for England in four FIFA World Cup finals. He will now miss the showpiece in South Africa while there must also be doubts over his career.
The 34-year-old recently joined Milan for a second loan spell from the Los Angeles Galaxy in a bid to prove his fitness to England manager Fabio Capello ahead of South Africa 2010.
Capello and his trusted assistant Franco Baldini were on the phone to offer their best wishes for Beckham to ultimately make a full recovery, knowing they could write the 34-year-old out of their own plans for South Africa.