Juventus have announced that centre-back Matthijs de Ligt has undergone shoulder surgery and will be sidelined for three months.
With the new Serie A season set to begin on September 19, the Dutch international could be sidelined for the first two months of the domestic campaign.
“This morning, Matthijs de Ligt, underwent stabilisation surgery on his right shoulder, at the UPMC Salvator Mundi clinic in Rome,” a statement from Juventus read on Wednesday.
“The operation, performed by Dr. Volker Mushal, assisted by doctors, Bryson Lesniak and Fabrizio Margheritini and in the presence of Juventus’ Head of Medical Department, Luca Stefanini, was a complete success.
“The estimated recovery time is approximately three months.”
The 21-year-old defender made 39 total appearances in his first season with Juventus, all but three of which were starts.
There were major expectations on De Ligt’s shoulders after he rejected interest from all over Europe to join Juventus for €75 million (£68m/$85m) from Ajax in July 2019.
De Ligt came in for major criticism at times during his debut season in Turin, but his performances stabilised as the season went on and he admitted he felt much more comfortable near the end of the campaign.
“I feel much better physically now and mentally I am in a much, much better place,” he told Sky Sport Italia last month.
De Ligt admitted he heard the criticism early in his Juve career but said that scoring the winner against city rivals Torino early in the season helped to make him feel more at home in Turin.
“It wasn’t an easy time for me, I received a lot of criticism and I was under pressure. That goal raised my spirits and made me and my team-mates happy. Thanks to that goal, I became the footballer I am today.”
De Ligt went on to help Juventus clinch their ninth consecutive Serie A crown, but their European season ended in disappointment last week when they were eliminated from the Champions League at the last-16 stage at the hands of Lyon.
That defeat saw head coach Maurizio Sarri sacked and replaced by former Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo.