Christian Benteke’s World Cup dream was in tatters today after he was ruled out for a minimum of six months.
Villa’s 11-goal top scorer suffered a ruptured Achilles in training yesterday lunchtime and will undergo surgery.
He is out for the rest of the season and misses Belgium’s assault on the World Cup in Brazil this summer.
Benteke was expected to be a key member of Marc Wilmots’ side but is now unlikely to play much before Christmas.
“It’s a terrible blow both for Christian and for the club,” said Villa boss Paul Lambert.
“He will miss the rest of the season, obviously, and also the World Cup. But he’ll work hard because that’s what he does and he’ll come back for us stronger than ever next season.”
He is the fourth Villa player to suffer a serious injury inside the last year with Charles N’Zogbia also rupturing his Achilles in June.
The Frenchman – who was expected to be out of Lambert’s plans – is still to fully recover 10 months later.
Summer signing Libor Kozak, who cost £7m from Lazio, broke his leg in January while £4m man Jores Okore suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in September just months after joining Villa.
Grant Holt is set to replace Benteke when Villa host Fulham tomorrow and his injury could also hand a chance to forgotten man Nicklas Helenius.