Wayne Rooney will miss the start of the Premier League season after contracting a virus during Manchester United's pre-season trip to Nigeria, manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed on Tuesday.
The striker has felt too weak to train since United returned from Africa last week and Ferguson expects to be without the England star when the European champions kick-off against Newcastle on August 17.
With Cristiano Ronaldo already sidelined for several weeks after ankle surgery, Rooney's absence is a major blow for Ferguson heading into the new campaign.
“I doubt if we'll get Rooney fit for the start of the season with the virus he's had,” Ferguson told Sky Sports News.
“It's a virus he picked up in Nigeria and it's not a nice one, but quite a few have had it.
“It's such a bad virus and he's got to be training to be fit.”
Ferguson, who insisted Rooney was not suffering from malaria, now has only Carlos Tevez, Louis Saha and Fraizer Campbell to choose his forward line from.
The United boss also insisted again that there was no chance of Ronaldo being allowed to join Real Madrid.
“The matter is now closed. Trust me he will play here next season,” Ferguson said.
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