Spain defender Carles Puyol will almost certainly miss Euro 2012 after he sustained an injury to his right knee that his club Barcelona said requires arthroscopic surgery and will sideline him for around six weeks.
The shaggy-haired centre back damaged the knee in Saturday's La Liga match at home to Espanyol and will have the operation next Saturday, Barca said in a statement on their website on Tuesday.
"The estimated time he will be out of action is around six weeks," the statement said, adding that the talismanic club captain would be unavailable for the King's Cup final against Athletic Bilbao on May 25.
The 34-year-old has been a reliable presence in the Spanish back line for more than a decade, making 99 appearances for his country and scoring the winning goal in the 1-0 semi-final victory against Germany at the 2010 World Cup.
"That's football, it's an extremely significant loss for us," coach Vicente del Bosque was quoted as saying in Marca.
Espanyol to sue over match-fixing claims
Spanish club Espanyol said Tuesday it would take a commercial radio station to court over a report which alleged it was involved in match-fixing.
The report, broadcast by the Cadena Cope radio station last week, cited an anonymous source in the Spanish football league raising doubts about Sporting Gijon's 3-0 league win at Espanyol on April 28.
"Espanyol will file a lawsuit against Cadena Cope and the journalist Juan Antonio Alcala to repair the honour and image of the squad," the club said in a statement.
The lawsuit will demand 3 million euros (£2.4 million, $3.9 million) in compensation, the club added.