Gareth Bale will not feature in Tottenham's Premier League opener at Crystal Palace this weekend, manager Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed.
The saga of Bale's proposed world-record move to Real Madrid - one Spurs are determined to resist - continues to cast a shadow over preparations for the new campaign.
Bale has not played since the middle of July due to a reported gluteal injury that has been followed by a foot problem.
He watched Wales' friendly against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday from the stands and Villas-Boas has now admitted the 24-year-old forward will sit out Sunday's curtain-raiser at Selhurst Park.
"No, because he's been out injured for most of pre-season," Villas-Boas said, when asked if Bale was involved in his plans for the start of the new term.
"He was involved in the games against Brentford and Swindon but not any others, for different reasons; pulled a muscle in his gluteus that prevented him from being involved for two weeks and he's been complaining of pain in the foot.
"I think the most natural thing is to see him not involved against Palace."