Madrid - Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte will be sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering a broken ankle on international duty as captain of the French under-21 team.
Laporte underwent surgery in Bilbao on Tuesday and is expected to be out for three to four months to end his faint hopes of representing his country on home soil at the European Championships this summer.
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"I have no doubt that we will miss Aymeric because he is a great player and offers us a lot," Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde told the club's website.
Athletic face holders Sevilla in the quarter-finals of the Europa League next month and also retain outside hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League as they lie seven points adrift of fourth-placed Villarreal in seventh in La Liga.