Real Madrid have suffered a major setback with the news that Pepe is set to be out of action for six months.
The defender has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Real’s 3-2 win over Valencia on Saturday and will undergo surgery.
A statement on the club’s official website on Sunday said: “An MRI at Sanitas La Moraleja Hospital earlier today confirmed that Pepe has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
“The player will undergo surgery in the upcoming days and is expected to be sidelined for six months.”
Pepe’s injury leaves Madrid with just three recognised centre-backs in Raul Albiol, Garay and Christoph Metzelder, although Sergio Ramos can also play in the middle.
Real Madrid general director Jorge Valdano confirmed the club will consider entering the transfer market again in January to find a replacement.
Valdano told the club’s official website: “Pepe is an irreplaceable player. There is no other Pepe on the market.
“From tomorrow we will evaluate if we are going to make a signing to make us feel more comfortable and to reinforce the squad, but it is something we will talk about tomorrow because today we are concerned about the fact we have lost the player.
“We are not ruling it (a signing) out, but neither are we sure because we have to look at the market.”