FC Barcelona's progress to the FIFA Club World Cup final in Japan has been marred by the news that David Villa will be out for the next four to five months after breaking his leg.
According to the club, the 30-year-old Spain striker "suffered a fracture to the tibia in his left leg" during the first half of the 4-0 semi-final defeat of Qatar's al-Sadd Sports Club. Following further tests at a Yokohama hospital, Barcelona confirmed Villa could be out for up to five months.
Such a prognosis puts Villa's involvement in Barcelona's UEFA Champions League and Liga title defences in doubt – and even raises the prospect that Spain's 51-goal all-time leading scorer may miss their UEFA EURO 2012 campaign in June.
"Villa has put in so much effort over such a long period of time and I hope that [his recovery] goes well, first from my perspective as his colleague and for him as a player," Josep Guardiola said. "We await his return with open arms," the coach added before explaining that his entire squad and backroom staff were "hurting" over the news.
Barcelona will discover their UEFA Champions League round of 16 opponents on Friday and two days later face Santos FC for the world crown.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.