Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has been left out of Belgium's squad for their upcoming internationals against Greece and Russia.
The defender's omission comes amid growing uncertainty about his future at the Etihad Stadium after another injury-ravaged campaign.
Kompany has made just six appearances all season but was thought to have been available for City's last four games after overcoming a knee problem.
The 30-year-old travelled with the City squad to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup last weekend and to Monaco in the Champions League in midweek but did not make the bench for either match.
Following that, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has decided not to include his skipper in his squad for this month's World Cup qualifier against Greece and friendly in Russia.
Martinez told reporters in Belgium: "We all know how important Vincent Kompany is for the Red Devils and how important he's going to be for the future.
"He wants to come even with one leg, that is his desire and commitment, but it's important that we protect him and we get the benefit from it.
"It is important we give him a bit of space and we allow him to get to match fitness. We want Vincent to be fully fit."
The news may come as a surprise to City manager Pep Guardiola, who said at a press conference on Friday that he hoped Kompany would get some game time with his national side in the coming weeks.
Guardiola revealed he felt he could not risk Kompany recently because of his history of breaking down. Kompany missed the start of the season with a groin problem and has suffered three more injuries since.
The Spaniard was actually speaking after the Belgium squad had been named, suggesting he had no knowledge of Martinez's decision.
Guardiola said: "He was a long time injured and sometimes he arrived (into the team) but was injured again, so I could risk him (but not be) safe and so sure (he would last).
"Now maybe he is going to the national team and if he can play some minutes I want to be sure he can compete from the beginning and not waste one game, one change, because he can't play 90 minutes, or he can't play the last 15-20 minutes as he is injured again. I would like more time to be sure."
Kompany has been one of City's most important players throughout their recent era of success and Guardiola insists he would like to see him reclaim a regular place in the team.
He said: "There was always a desire (for that), from the beginning of the season, but the same thing happened this season as last season - he wasn't fit.
"The first thing, as I've said many times, is to be fit enough to make the training sessions and for the last two weeks he has been there."