Villa facing up to five months on sidelines
Barcelona have confirmed David Villa is set to be sidelined for between "four and five months" after the Spain forward broke his shinbone in their 4-0 FIFA Club World Cup semi-final victory over Al-Sadd.
The 30-year-old was carried off on a stretcher six minutes before half-time and Barça announced soon after that he had suffered a "fracture to the tibia in his left leg", with the player taken to hospital in Yokohama for further tests.
An updated statement on the club's website subsequently read: "In the coming hours, Villa will return to Barcelona, via Frankfurt, to be operated on. He will be accompanied by doctor Ricard Pruna and Manel Estiarte. The approximate time he will be sidelined is between four and five months."
The news means Villa is likely to miss the majority of Barça's La Liga and UEFA Champions League campaigns, but could be available to world and European champions Spain for UEFA EURO 2012, which begins in June.
Barça coach Pep Guardiola said: "He will be greatly missed as a colleague and as a player. I hope everything goes well. He will be out for a long time. It's a big blow to the team. We just hope that he can play again as soon as possible.
"David is very dear to us. The injury has saddened us all. Everyone can put themselves in his place and know how they would suffer if it happened to them. They feel for him. We must accept it and encourage him in his recovery."
Villa remains optimistic he will be back in time for EURO 2012, and also hopes he will be able to feature in the Champions League final in Munich on 19 May if defending champions Barça get that far.
In a message posted on his Facebook page, Villa said: "Hello everyone. Thanks for your support. The injury is a tough blow, but I'm sure that I'm going to recover as soon as possible, thinking about playing the final in Munich (I know my team-mates will take me there) and the European Championships. I'm going to work hard for it. I want them to count on me. Tomorrow I'll be in Spain. A big hug."