Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti hopes David Beckham's career is not over after a ruptured Achilles ended the England midfielder's hopes of appearing at a fourth successive World Cup finals.
The 34-year-old sustained the injury in AC Milan's victory over Chievo on Sunday night and was carried from the San Siro pitch in tears as the thought of at least five months of rehabilitation took hold.
Beckham, who returned to Milan on loan from LA Galaxy in order to enhance his World Cup dreams after spending a similar spell with the Italians last season, has since flown to Finland for surgery as he begins the long road to recovery.
Some have suggested that the injury could finish the veteran's playing days, but former Milan boss Ancelotti has backed the 115-time England international to recover after witnessing his determination firsthand with the Serie A giants.
"I am so sorry for him. I know how he wanted to go to the World Cup," Ancelotti said as he prepares for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League meeting with Inter Milan.
"He came last year to Milan above all for this, to show his quality for the England team. I hope he will make a good recovery quickly and he can come back to play soon.
"It is too early to say he is finished. He had a bad injury but I hope he will come back."
Ancelotti added: "Until now he did a fantastic career and also showed a fantastic professionalism."
Ex-England caretaker manager Peter Taylor, the man who gave Beckham the captaincy of his country, thinks a lack of experience will be tangible at the World Cup.
Taylor, now Bradford manager, said: "I think the experience of David is what we will miss. If they're inexperienced, there are not many squads that win tournaments.
"It's experienced squads that go and win things, so that's where I think we'll miss David on and off the field."