Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas will miss the rest of the Premier League season because of a broken right leg, an injury that jeopardizes his chance of playing for Spain in the World Cup.
Arsenal said Thursday the star midfielder will miss at least six weeks. He cracked his lower right fibula during Wednesday's 2-2 tie with Barcelona in the first leg of a European Champions League quarter-final.
Arsenal has six more Premier League games before the English season ends May 9. Two days later, World Cup teams submit 30 man preliminary rosters. Squads are cut to 23 by June 1, and Spain opens against Switzerland on June 16.
Among the top players in the Premier League this season along with Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Chelsea's Didier Drogba, Fabregas has 19 goals in 36 games for Arsenal. There is a slim chance he could rejoin the club for the May 22 Champions League final if the Gunners advance.
"Everyone at the club wishes Cesc a full and speedy recovery," Arsenal said in a statement.
While Fabregas is important for Arsenal, he has been an infrequent starter for Spain, which prepares for the World Cup with exhibitions against South Korea on June 3 and Poland on June 8.
Seeking its first league title since 2004, Arsenal is 21-6-5 for 68 points, four points behind league-leading Manchester United (23-6-3) and three back of second-place Chelsea (22-5-5).
Defender William Gallas and forward Andrey Arshavin also are sidelined after getting hurt Wednesday.
"William had a recurrence of his calf strain — that is at least three weeks," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "The next one is Arshavin — a calf strain, three weeks (out).
"Gael Clichy is struggling with a back problem," Wenger added.
"He might need a breather as well .Denilson has a groin problem — we will assess that too. The first three are out; Clichy and Denilson are possibles to play at the weekend."