Real Madrid's defense was hit by more injury problems Wednesday after learning it will be without defender Raul Albiol for up to five weeks.
Albiol severely sprained his left ankle in Madrid's preseason 1-1 draw at Standard Liege on Tuesday and will be out at least four weeks, the Spanish club said.
Albiol's injury leaves Madrid with Ricardo Carvalho as the only center back available in defense ahead of its Aug. 29 opener against Mallorca.
Pepe is already questionable for the start of the season with a leg injury, and fellow center back Ezequiel Garay is out for two months with a dislocated knee cap.
Madrid coach Jose Mourinho may be forced to use fullback Sergio Ramos in the middle of the backline, with midfielders Marcelo or Royston Drenthe available to take the Spain defender's place on the left side of defense.
Albiol strained ligaments in his left ankle while with Spain at the World Cup. The 24-year-old Spain defender played in 43 games in his first season with Madrid.