Spain star Alexia Putellas is set to miss the 2022 Women's European Championship after tearing her ACL in the days leading up to the tournament.
Putellas was expected to lead her country into the competition as one of the best players in the world, with Spain recognised among the favourites this summer.
But the loss of Putellas will be a massive blow to Spain's hopes as the Barcelona star is set to be out for an extended period of time.
Putellas injury latest
"The tests carried out on the Spanish international on the afternoon of this Tuesday, July 5, 2022, at King Edward VII's hospital in London, have confirmed that the captain of the Spanish Women's National Team suffers a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee," the Spanish FA said in a statement.
The injury occurred in a pre-tournament training session, with Spain's worst fears realised as she was diagnosed with a catastrophic injury.
Devastating news for Spain... and women's football
GOAL's women's football correspondent Amee Ruszkai writes...
Putellas’ importance to this Spain team cannot be overstated.
The best player in the world is not only important because of her skills on the pitch, but her leadership too. Her absence will be an absolutely huge setback for a nation so many are excited to watch this summer.
Spain have landed themselves in the ‘group of death’ at the Euros, pooled with eight-time winners Germany and the 2017 runners-up, Denmark.
Putellas’ match-winning qualities and ability to make a difference would’ve been such a boost to their cause to progress to the quarter-finals.
Jorge Vilda is fortunate in that he is blessed with a very deep and talented pool of players, with Aitana Bonmati someone who can certainly step up and deliver big moments like her Barca team-mate - something she has a fantastic record of doing in huge games.
There is great leadership throughout the team, too, and tons of players who have winning experience and world-class quality like Putellas.
But the 2021 Ballon d’Or winner is almost irreplaceable and there is no doubt Spain will miss her in England.
Moreover, the news is just devastating for a player enjoying the best time of her career and ready to show that on a huge international stage for the first time since her rise to superstardom.
For a tournament like this to be missing one of the game’s best players feels, quite simply, sad.
Putellas' career so far
The 28-year-old playmaker has played for Barcelona since 2012 and has won five league titles and a Champions League title.
During the 2020-21 season, she played a key role in Barca's continental treble, going on to win UEFA Women's Player of the Year, the Ballon d'Or and the Best FIFA Women's Player award, becoming the first player to win all three in the same year.
Internationally, she's featured 100 times for Spain, having earned her first cap in 2012.
She's featured in three major international competitions, but it was this summer's Euros that were supposed to be her chance to shine as one of the top players in the world.