Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte could be out of action for up to a month with a hamstring injury, manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed.
Laporte was forced off in the first half of Wednesday's stunning Champions League victory at Real Madrid. It was just his eighth appearance of an injury-ravaged season.
Guardiola said: "He has a hamstring injury, so that is normally three weeks or one month, more or less.
"We tried to avoid it but unfortunately it has happened after four or five months out and then going directly into a big game. It sometimes happens."
Laporte, 25, suffered knee ligament damage in August and then had a setback on his return in January, keeping him out for a further month. The clash at the Bernabeu was just the third game of his latest comeback.
The Frenchman has been sorely missed this season with his absence arguably one of the chief reasons why the champions have failed to mount a strong defence of their Premier League title.
This latest setback could hamper City's quest for silverware on other fronts. Laporte will definitely miss this weekend's Carabao Cup final against Aston Villa and is unlikely to be back for the second leg against Real in three weeks' time.
He will also miss an FA Cup tie at Sheffield Wednesday as well as a derby against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Guardiola says Laporte will need strong character to come through his latest lay-off.
The City boss said: "It is tough but they have to overcome these situations. Life is not easy and always in the world the people who survive overcome the bad moments.
"It is what it is. Accept it and work harder to come back in the best condition as possible."
City will now turn their attention to Sunday's showpiece against Villa at Wembley. Victory would give City a sixth domestic trophy in succession after winning all three major pieces of silverware last season and the past two Community Shields.
Guardiola said: "Since we won the Carabao Cup as our first title together, we have played 11 competitions. If we win on Sunday, we will have won eight. Eight out of 11 at this level is incredible, and it would be the last six domestic titles in a row.
"There are no words to express my gratitude to these players. It is honestly so difficult to do it and to maintain that."