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David Beckham's prospects of crowning his stellar professional football career with one final World Cup appearance this year appeared to be in tatters Monday after he suffered a suspected Achilles tendon injury.
Beckham, whose global popularity - particularly with American fans - would have been a huge spectator draw for the 2010 Cup in South Africa, was forced to hobble from the pitch while playing a league game for his Italian team AC Milan.
Fabio Capello, the manager of the England team, said tests were under way to determine the seriousness of the injury, but Beckham's prospects looked grim.
In a message posted his own Web site, Beckham - photographed Monday walking with the aid of a crutch - said he was on his way to Finland to see a specialist and was optimistic of a rapid return to the pitch.
"I am upset but want to thank everyone for their messages of support," he said. "I hope to make a swift and full recovery."
Beckham's inclusion in the line up for South Africa, albeit less crucial than younger stars such as Wayne Rooney, would have made him the country's first ever player to compete in four World Cups.
Beckham was expected to be a huge draw card for fans and sponsors at the World Cup and many were hedging on his involvement to bring in money.
Now that Beckham looks like he'll be out of this year's tournament, we want to know what you think.
How do you think Beckham's injury will impact this year's World Cup? Will his impact be felt more as a personality or as a player?
And please let us know from where you are writing.