Gareth Bale will not feature in Tottenham's Premier League opener against Crystal Palace this weekend, manager Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed.
The saga of Bale's proposed world-record move to Real Madrid - one Spurs are determined to resist - continues to cast shadows over preparations for the new campaign.
Bale has not played since the middle of July due to a reported gluteal injury that has been followed by a foot problem.
He watched Wales' friendly against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday from the stands and Villas-Boas has now admitted the 24-year-old will sit out Sunday's curtain-raiser against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
"No, because he's been out injured for most of pre-season," Villas-Boas said at the Premier League 2013-14 season launch, when asked if Bale was involved in his plans for the start of the new term.
"He was involved in the games against Brentford and Swindon but not any others, for different reasons; pulled a muscle in his gluteus that prevented him from being involved for two weeks and he's been complaining of pain in the foot.
"I think the most natural thing is to see him not involved against Palace.
Bale's future at White Hart Lane could remain uncertain until the transfer window closes on 2 September but Villas-Boas admitted he was desperate to retain a player "cherished" by the club.
"We've been very, very clear with everybody regarding the player and our willingness to hold on to him.
"Obviously in football anything can happen in the end but this is a player we cherish a lot and has helped us progress and ideally we want to continue with him."