Madrid: Barcelona captain Carles Puyol underwent an exploratory knee operation on Friday.
The 34-year-old Puyol has suffered knee problems for over a year and missed last summer`s European Championships, which were won by Spain.
He was not included in the Spain squad named by coach, Vicente del Bosque this Friday for the World Cup qualifying matches to be played against Finland and France slated for March 22 and 26.
Del Bosque explained that Puyol had told him he had a `physical problem` and would not be able to play in the two vital matches.
The operation means that Puyol will miss his side`s Champions League quarter-final tie against Paris Saint Germain, which was drawn this Friday and it is possible that he could miss the rest of the season.
Although the loss of the FC Barcelona captain is bound to be felt by the rest of the team, it has come at a moment when Barca can possibly best withstand the loss of its captain.
Central defender, Marc Bartra was given the all-clear to play again this week after missing several weeks through injury, while Eric Abidal has been training with the first team squad for over a month now since recovering from a liver transplant operation.
Bartra and perhaps Abidal will be able to play a role in the run in to the end of the season, while time will tell what happens to the inspirational Puyol.
Barca`s first game without Puyol is this Sunday`s home match against Rayo Vallecano in the Camp Nou Stadium.