Real Madrid star Pepe is set to for a long spell on the sidelines after suffering a grade 2 muscle injury in the femoral biceps of his left leg during the 4-1 victory over Alaves on Saturday (29 October). The Champions League winners have refused to put a timeframe on his return, but reports in Spain claim that he will be out for around a month. This means he will definitely miss the derby with Atletico Madrid, but could return for the first Clasico of the season at Barcelona on 3 December.

The 33-year-old defender was forced off in the 24th minute against Alaves after suffering a muscle injury, being replaced by Nacho.

Manager Zinedine Zidane expressed hopes that the Portugal international would avoid a long-term spell on the sidelines, as he already has other key stars like Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Casemiro on the treatment table.

"When we get back to Madrid we will carry out a few tests and see what is going on with him. At this moment in time I don't know how long he will be out for. We will have to carry on with the players we have and hopefully he will be back soon," the Real Madrid boss said in a post-match press conference.

Subsequent scans confirmed Real Madrid fans' worst fears, as the Portuguese was diagnosed with a grade 2 muscle injury only a month before the first Clasico of the season at Barcelona.

"After tests carried out today on Pepe at the Sanitas La Moraleja University Hospital, he has been diagnosed with a grade 2 muscle injury in the femoral biceps of his left leg. His recovery will continue to be monitored," Real Madrid confirmed though an official statement.

Real Madrid have failed to set a deadline for the recovery of Pepe but both AS and Marca are claiming he will be on the sidelines for a minimum of four weeks.

The news is a massive blow for Zidane as, with Ramos also on the sidelines, he only has two centre-back available in Raphael Varane and Nacho.

Pepe, should reports are true, will miss all the fixtures in the coming busy month of November, starting with the Champions League encounter against Legia Warszawa on Wednesday night.

The Portugal international is also ruled out for the upcoming matches with his national team and will miss the following five games with Real Madrid: Leganes (6 November), Atletico Madrid (19 November), Sporting Portugal (22 November), Sporting Gijon (267 November) and Cultural Leonesa 30 November).

AS reports that Pepe is targeting a to return to action for the La Liga trip to Barcelona on Saturday 3 December. Ramos, meanwhile, is working on his rehabilitation with hopes to be ready to return in the derby with Atletico Madrid.