Cesc Fabregas is facing up to a month out on the sidelines for Barcelona, after suffering a muscle injury against Real Betis.
The midfielder, who has scored five goals and assisted a further nine in the League so far, pulled up just nine minutes into his side’s eventual 2-1 win at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.
The Spain international has since been confirmed by his club to have suffered a strain in his left thigh, with tests making clear that the player will likely miss the next three to four weeks of action.
That rules Fabregas out of Barca’s remaining fixtures of the calendar year, League tests with Atletico Madrid and Real Valladolid and the first leg of the Last 16 Copa del Rey tie against Cordoba.
The club indicate that the player may also be absent for the opening two fixtures of 2013, the League derby with Espanyol and the return leg in the Cup.
Meanwhile, Carles Puyol was substituted at half-time of the same game in a precautionary matter, after suffering pain in his right leg.