Spain defender Carlos Puyol could miss Euro 2012 after it was announced he will be out for around six weeks.
The Barcelona central defender has a knee injury that requires arthroscopic surgery.
"After tests were conducted it was decided the player would have arthroscopic surgery next Saturday, May 12," the reigning Champions League holders said in a statement on their website. "The estimated time he will be out of action is around six weeks."
Puyol experienced discomfort following Saturday's 4-0 defeat of Espanyol, and the news means he will miss the last Primera League game of the season against Real Betis and Pep Guardiola's final game in charge - the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao on May 25.
If Puyol was to return to action six-weeks from today, it would mean the 34-year-old would miss all of Spain's group games. The winners of Euro 2008 play Italy on June 10, Republic of Ireland on June 14 and Croatia on June 18 - a day before Puyol is scheduled to return.
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque, who is due to announce a provisional squad on May 15, is quoted by Marca as saying: "That's football, it's an extremely significant loss for us.
"Quite apart from whether or not it disrupts my plans, he is a charismatic lad and very important (to the team) and was only a step away from making his 100th appearance."
Del Bosque, who must confirm his final party of players on May 27, added: "He has been on great form, it's a shame."
The news will be a major blow as Spain look to become the first team to win three major tournaments in a row, having won in 2008 and then the World Cup in 2010.Reuse content