Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas will miss the 2022-23 season and faces a race against time to be fit for next summer's World Cup after undergoing knee surgery on Tuesday.
Putellas, 28, tore her anterior cruciate ligament last week while preparing for the European Championship with Spain and returned to Barcelona for the operation on Monday.
"Barca are pleased to announce that the surgery at Barcelona Hospital was a success," the Catalan club said in a short statement. "Putellas will be out of action for between 10 and 12 months."
Ballon d'Or winner Putellas, who was also recently crowned the best player in the women's game by ESPN, has never previously spent a sustained period on the sidelines.
But she is now set to miss the entirety of the upcoming season with Barca and potentially the World Cup with Spain in Australia and New Zealand. The World Cup kicks off on July 20 next summer and runs until the end of August.
Putellas picked up the injury while training with Spain last week ahead of their opening game at Euro 2022 against Finland. No teammates were involved in the incident.
She remained in England for La Roja's 4-1 win over Finland on Friday but returned to Barcelona earlier this week to start her recovery program.
The news comes as a major setback to Barcelona, too, as they plan for the new campaign. Putellas has been the key figure in their rise to the top of the game in recent years, helping them win a first-ever Champions League title last year and a domestic treble last season.
She was also the top scorer in the Champions League last year, scoring 11 times, including once in the final as Barca were beaten 3-1 by Lyon.
The Spanish women, meanwhile, must continue their quest for a first major international trophy without the best player in the world. They play Germany in their second group game on Tuesday and then face Denmark at the weekend.