Villa facing Euro 2012 fitness battle
Barcelona striker David Villa is hoping to be fit in time for Spain's European Championship defence next June but will face a real battle to be ready for the finals, according to one of the doctors who operated on his broken leg on Monday.
Villa, 30, is expected to be out for four or five months after breaking his shinbone during Barcelona's Club World Cup semi-final victory over Al-Sadd last Thursday.
Although Villa had not been featuring as regularly for his club of late, he is still a vital player for his country; the former Valencia frontman is Spain's all-time leading scorer with 51 goals in 82 games and claimed seven goals during Euro 2012 qualifying.
La Roja coach Vincente del Bosque will be desperate to get Villa back but Dr. Ramon Cugat, who was part of the team operated on the Barca star, said that a return to fitness for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine will be a challenge.
"The chances [of him playing this season] are slim, but it cannot be ruled out,'' Dr. Cugat said. "The timetable of four to five months is tight, yet there is hope. He has his goal to reach. He is keen to be able to play in the both the Champions League final and the European Championships. He wants it all.
"Tomorrow [Tuesday] he will begin his recovery, beginning to move his ankle. In three days he will be on crutches, and in five weeks we will remove the screws.
"We hope to have Villa back in time for the European Championship. It will be cutting it close. I believe that it will take four to five months, but we have to see how he evolves. I could make a mistake if I give an exact date.''
Dr Cugat added: "The operation went perfectly, and 35 minutes after the player was sending messages to his team-mates and smiling.''
Villa, who will spend the next few days recovering in hospital, was the tournament's top scorer as Spain won Euro 2008 with four goals while he was joint top-scorer with five goals as the Iberian nation won the World Cup in South Africa last summer.
Should Villa miss out on a place in Vicente del Bosque's Euro 2012 squad then it could be to the benefit of Valencia striker Roberto Soldado, who is one of the forwards fighting to be on the plane to Poland and Ukraine.
However, the former Real Madrid forward put his personal ambitions aside in admitting he hopes Villa will be fit to feature next summer.
"Clearly I'm a bit closer (to a Spain spot), but from the heart I hope that he recovers as soon as possible," Soldado told radio station Cope . Spain needs him, every Spaniard wants him to be at the European Championships and we're sure that he's going to get there.''