The surgeon set to operate on David Beckham's injured Achilles on Monday expects the midfielder to be out for up to four months.
The experienced winger snapped a tendon while in action for AC Milan against Chievo on Sunday.
He left the Giuseppe Meazza on crutches, with his dreams of gracing this summer's World Cup seemingly left in tatters.
Such fears have now been confirmed, with medics revealing that Beckham will be sidelined for at least three months.
That would leave him with no time in which to work on his fitness ahead of a trip to South Africa.
The World Cup gets underway on 11th June and there is no way the 34-year-old will be ready by then.
He must now hope that his operation passes without a hitch and he is able to return to competitive action with parent club Los Angeles Galaxy in late summer.
"To start kicking and playing football about three months," said Dr Sakari Orava, the surgeon set to carry out the surgery on Beckham in Finland.
"For maximum performances and maximum kicks and jumps, maybe it takes one month more, three to four months before one is able to do light playing."
According to Sky Sports News' chief news reporter Bryan Swanson, Beckham is said to be devastated by the injury but touched by all the messages of support he has received since Sunday night.
Will David Beckham play for England again after his apparent Achilles tendon injury?