The Spanish striker David Villa will be out of football for up to five months after breaking his left leg in Barcelona's 4-nil Club World Cup semi-final victory over Al Sadd of Qatar in Japan last night.
The news is also a setback for Spain as they prepare to defend their European Championship title in Poland and Ukraine next year.
Villa, Spain's all-time top scorer with 50 goals in 81 appearances, fell awkwardly in the first half and immediately signalled to the bench before being rushed to a local hospital in Yokohama.
Villa was first-choice forward when Spain won the World Cup in South Africa last year and his national team partners Fernando Torres and Fernando Llorente are now struggling for form.
Barcelona are also chasing numerous titles.