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Villa's broken leg damages Spain's hopes

Spain and Barcelona will have to do without David Villa for the remainder of the season after the prolific goal-scorer broke a leg in the World Club Championship.

Villa sustained the injury against the Qatari club Al-Sadd in Yokohama. The Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola would be frustrated that the injury occurred in a match Barcelona won comfortably 4-0, and could have fielded fringe players instead of key members of the squad like Villa.

Villa suffered a fractured tibia while challenging for the ball in the opposition penalty area, and now faces an absence of six months or more. At present this means he would be unlikely to feature in the Spain squad that will try to defend their European Championship title in Poland and Ukraine next summer.

Villa is Spain’s all time top goal-scorer with a remarkable 50 goals in 81 appearances. His consistency has been one of the key ingredients in Spain’s rise to European and world domination.

His absence will be felt more keenly by the national team than by Barcelona. With Fernando Torres struggling to recapture his best form, Spain lacks an alternative source of goals. Guardiola, by contrast, has a crop of academy players eager to be given their chance in the first team, and several attacking options. The recent victory over Real Madrid in the Bernabeu suggested that Barcelona would have few problems defending their Spanish title.

The injury adds to the problems associated with FIFA’s World Club Championship. It has never been popular with European clubs who have to fly east in the middle of their domestic season.

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