Tottenham winger Gareth Bale is understood to have suffered an injury that will rule him out of Great Britain's Olympic football squad.
Bale was widely anticipated to be included in manager Stuart Pearce's GB team for the Olympic tournament starting at the end of next month.
But it is understood the 22-year-old Wales international has suffered a recurrence of an old back and hip injury after pulling up while running.
Bale is understood to be reluctant to risk aggravating the problem further, with Tottenham's Barclays Premier League opener at Newcastle just seven weeks away.
The player, who earlier this week pledged his future to Spurs by signing a new four-year contract to 2016, is believed to have already informed Pearce of his decision to make himself unavailable for selection after taking medical advice.
Bale had been held up as a likely star turn for Team GB, and his absence will come as a further blow to fans already shocked by Pearce's controversial decision to omit former England captain David Beckham from his squad.
Bale has previously made little secret of his desire to represent GB at the Olympics, and last year risked the wrath of the Welsh FA by posing in a British Olympic team shirt without their permission.
The Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish FAs have been vocal in their opposition to providing players to a British team since the Games were awarded to London, although the Welsh have long been resigned to a number of their players taking part.
Bale's absence means it will instead fall to Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy - who along with Micah Richards comprise the three over-age players in the squad - to lead the Welsh contingent in Pearce's 18-man selection, which will be formally unveiled on Monday.
Team GB have been drawn in Group A at the London Games with Senegal, Uruguay and United Arab Emirates.
Pearce's men begin their campaign against Senegal at Old Trafford on July 26 before playing the UAE at Wembley on July 29 and Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium on August 1.
what do you think?
Huge loss. Best player in Britain, and will only get better.
he's like rice paper!!! SOooooo fragile!
A great player but perhaps it could be call up time for Beckham as that is what the whole country wants to see, at least I might find some interest in watching the Olympics then!!!!
Gareths decision makes sense, look out first for the club no more reisk. Now the big one will Pearce name Beckham in the squad, Pearce should but as every expat knows they don't like you leaving the country earning tax free money there's a resentment there , Come on Stuart Pearce be a big boy your man enough not to let those at the top influence you aren't you running this G B. team.? Any chance of a reply from you ??