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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Pires out for six months with knee ligament injury

MADRID, Aug 21 (Reuters) - French midfielder Robert Pires will miss most of his first season at Villarreal after tearing the cruciate ligament in his left knee - the second such injury to hit the Primera Liga side in a matter of days.

The former Arsenal player, who signed a two-year deal with Villarreal at the end of last season when his contract with the Londoners expired, sustained the injury against Cadiz in the pre-season Ramon de Carranza trophy on Friday.

The 32-year-old winger, who won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Arsenal, is the second Villarreal player to suffer a cruciate ligament injury during the tournament.

Argentine international centre back Gonzalo Rodriguez suffered the same injury in his right knee in the game against Real Madrid on Saturday and will be out for seven months.

'It's the same injury as Gonzalo has,' club president Fernando Roig told reporters on Monday when asked about the results of scans carried out on Pires's knee. 'He will have to undergo surgery.'

Roig added that the club would be looking for reinforcements to replace both players.

The Carranza tournament proved to be extremely costly for Villarreal, who open their Primera Liga campaign against Real Madrid this weekend.

Midfielder Josico suffered a thigh muscle tear and youth team player Bruno fractured a rib after colliding with Real Madrid forward Julio Baptista. Both players will be out of action for up to a month.