Villarreal president Fernando Roig has admitted it is a huge blow to lose key defender Gonzalo Rodriguez to long term injury.
The Argentine central defender is expected to miss the majority of the new Primera season after tests confirmed he tore the cruciate ligament in his right knee during a pre-season friendly with Real Madrid.
Rodriguez is scheduled to have further tests on Monday, but Roig does not expect the player to make a quick recovery.
"Gonzalo has sustained a very serious injury," said Roig.
"We will have to do without him for the next seven months.
"It is a very heavy blow."
The 22-year-old missed the chance to play at the World Cup finals after damaging his ankle in April and Villarreal may now look to bring in defensive cover for Rodriguez.