Vinicius Junior has ankle injury, could miss about 2 months

              The injured Real forward Vinicius Junior reacts during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match soccer match between Real Madrid and Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

MADRID (AP) — Vinicius Juniors is expected to be sidelined for about two months because of an ankle injury sustained in Real Madrid’s 4-1 loss to Ajax in the Champions League.

The young Brazilian is expected to be dropped from Brazil’s squad that will play friendlies against Panama and the Czech Republic later this month.

Real Madrid said exams on Wednesday showed a ligament tear in his right ankle. The club did not say how much time Vinicius Junior will need to recover, but Spanish media said similar injuries usually keep players sidelined for about eight weeks.

Vinicius Junior was hurt at the end of a long run in which he nearly scored for Madrid on Tuesday in the first half of the game against Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. He tried to continue after being attended by doctors but was soon taken off. The youngster cried as he made his way back to the bench, loudly applauded by fans.

The speedy and skillful forward recently took over Gareth Bale’s spot in Madrid’s starting lineup. He had been playing well but endured some criticism for missing too many clear chances in front of goal.

The loss to Ajax eliminated Madrid from the Champions League, ending its three-year reign as champion. It was the team’s fourth consecutive home loss in all competitions, following two against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey and the Spanish league, results that left Madrid without a realistic chance of winning anything for the rest of the season.

The 18-year-old Vinicius Junior joined Madrid last year after the Spanish team paid 45 million euros ($51 million) to Brazilian club Flamengo.

Madrid’s next match is Sunday against Valladolid in the Spanish league, a competition in which it trails leader Barcelona by 12 points with 12 matches left.