MADRID: European champions Real Madrid have suffered a new injury blow with captain Sergio Ramos being ruled out for a month after being forced off in Spain’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win away to Albania with a knee strain.

The centre-back received lengthy treatment on the pitch after falling awkwardly while contesting a corner and was substituted by coach Julen Lopetegui in the 80th minute.

“Sergio’s injury looks like a strain and we hope that’s all it is but the doctors are the ones who have to determine what it is. He’s a very important player for us and his club,” Lopetegui told reporters at his post-match press conference.

Ramos will undergo further tests on his return to Madrid to determine the extent of his injury.

Although Ramos has endured a stumbling start to the season, conceding four penalties for club and country, his absence will be keenly felt by Real Madrid and coach Zinedine Zidane, who has recently been without Brazilian duo Marcelo and Casemiro and midfielder Luka Modric.

Zidane has also faced serious criticism for the team’s stuttering run of four consecutive draws in all competitions, which culminated in a shock 1-1 draw at home to Eibar last Sunday.

Ramos could miss Real’s La Liga games against Real Betis, Athletic Bilbao, Alaves and Leganes and two Champions League group games with Legia Warsaw.

He is also doubtful for Spain’s World Cup Qualifier with Macedonia on November 12 and friendly against England on November 15.

If his recovery goes according to plan, the 30-year-old will return to action in time for the Madrid derby against neighbours and La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid on November 20.

Marcelo is set to return from his calf injury to face Betis on Saturday but Casemiro is not due to return until the end of October as he recovers from a fractured fibula.

Modric, who is nursing a knee problem, is not expected to return until the start of November.