Cesc Fabregas has withdrawn from Spain’s squad for the upcoming friendlies in Equatorial Guinea and South Africa, with Barcelona teammate Marc Bartra called up as an indirect replacement.
Fabregas hurt his knee while scoring Barca’s fourth goal in Sunday evening’s 4-1 La Liga win at Real Betis, and immediately asked to be substituted.
Although the midfielder played down the injury during post-game interviews, tests carried out in the Catalan capital on Monday morning found a ligament strain that is set to rule him out of action for one week.
Fabregas’ misfortune has led to a first senior international call-up for Bartra, 22, who may now get a first cap in Spain’s friendlies away to Equatorial Guinea on Saturday Nov. 16 and South Africa three days later.
The Catalan defender won European Championship medals in both 2011 and 2013 with Spain’s U21 side, and has impressed during six starts and three substitute appearances for Barca so far this season.
The news on both players was announced via a Barca club statement on Monday.
“Cesc will be out for seven days,” the statement read. “The tests carried out this Monday morning confirmed that the midfielder has a strain in the internal lateral ligament of his right knee, according to the club’s medical services. Therefore he is out for the Spanish national team’s two friendlies. His azulgrana colleague Marc Bartra will take his place in the list.”
Fabregas gave his support to his teammate on Twitter.
Sad for the injury that will keep me a few days off but happy for the opportunity that has been given to @MarcBartra91, good luck mate!— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) November 11, 2013
Bartra will join Victor Valdes, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Pedro Rodriguez in the Spain squad, but midfielder Xavi Hernandez and centre-back Carles Puyol are not included this time.
The timeframe given for Fabregas’ injury suggests he will be available for his club’s first game after the international break, at home to Granada on Saturday Nov. 24.