Kevin Strootman looks certain to miss the rest of the Serie A season and the World Cup after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Roma's 1-0 defeat to Napoli on Sunday.
• World Cup Daily: March 10
The Netherlands midfielder underwent a scan on Monday after leaving the field in pain just over 10 minutes in to Sunday night's Serie A clash.
It was first feared he had aggravated an injury he picked up to the right knee while on international duty, but the problem was actually with his left knee.
He will now undergo surgery with an absence of around six months likely.
Roma reported that a scan on Monday identified a "tear to the anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee with possible additional meniscus damage. In the coming days, the Dutchman will undergo an operation."
His loss is bad news for Roma and also for Netherlands. The 24-year-old had missed only three matches all season for the Giallorossi following his arrival from PSV Eindhoven last summer, becoming an integral part of their midfield.
"Our problem is not so much losing this game, but the fear that we might lose Strootman," said Roma coach Rudi Garcia on Sunday night.
Get well messages have been arriving from Strootman's teammates via Twitter. Roma defender Leandro Castan said "come back soon, we're with you", while AC Milan midfielder and compatriot Nigel De Jong told him to think positive.
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal also passed on his sympathies.
"It's dramatic for Kevin," he told NOS. "I can imagine his whole world is collapsing right now. Kevin had a very important time ahead of him, with Roma and the Oranje. This is also a loss for the Netherlands. Kevin made a very big contribution to our qualification for the World Cup.
"We would never have been so successful without him. But it's worse for Kevin, who sees his dream fall apart."