Barcelona forward David Villa broke his left leg during his side’s 4-0 Club World Cup semi-final victory over al-Sadd of Qatar in Japan on Thursday.
“David has fractured his leg and will return to Barcelona for an operation as soon as possible,” Barca coach Pep Guardiola told reporters.
“We are all very sad for him. He’s a charming personality and it’s a massive blow for the team,” added Guardiola after the European champions set up a final against Brazil's Santos.
Villa, Spain’s all-time top scorer with 50 goals in 81 appearances for his country, fell awkwardly in the first half and immediately signaled to the bench before being rushed to a local hospital in Yokohama.
“He will be out for a long time,” confirmed Guardiola. “I don’t know how long but it takes a long time to return after a break like this.”
“All the players are very worried about David. We hope he will return as soon as possible. Our thoughts are with him and we will have to win the Club World Cup without him.”
Spanish and European champions Barca said it was the first injury Villa had sustained since joining the club from Valencia last year.
The news is a major setback for Guardiola as his side pursues titles in the Club World Cup, La Liga, the Champions League and the King’s Cup this season.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque will also be concerned as Villa is the country's leading striker looking ahead to the defense of their title at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
The 30-year-old played a central role in them winning the World Cup in South Africa last year.