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Barca's Valdes to miss World Cup with torn ACL

ESPN staff
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Valdes out of World Cup

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has likely played his final game for the club and will miss the World Cup after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right leg during the 3-0 victory over Celta Vigo on Wednesday.

Valdes, who announced earlier this season that he will leave Barca in the summer, jumped to stop a Celta free-kick in the first half of the match at Camp Nou but his right knee appeared to buckle as he landed. He fell to the turf and called to be substituted.

He was carried to a cart and then shuttled off the pitch with his gloved hands covering his face.

Neymar had given Barcelona the lead after six minutes and Messi doubled the advantage on the half hour, before Neymar struck again midway through the second period to give the home side all three points and put the pressure on their rivals at the top of La Liga.

But Barcelona confirmed the extent of Valdes' injury shortly after Wednesday's victory.

Valdes' ACL tear will cause the him to miss this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Valdes, 32, has 20 caps for Spain and has been in a back-and-forth battle with Real Madrid's Iker Casillas for La Roja's starting spot. His absence would likely open the door for Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea to travel with Vicente del Bosque's squad.

Jose Manuel Pinto replaced Valdes in goal on Wednesday. He has been the starter in Copa del Rey matches this season, and started for Barcelona when Valdes injured his calf in November.

Elsewhere in La Liga, Real Madrid's title challenge unravelled as they suffered back-to-back defeats with a 2-1 loss at Sevilla.

Fresh from their Clasico beating, Carlo Ancelotti's men still held the upper hand in the title race ahead of this game.

But another loss, coupled with wins for Barca and Atletico Madrid, who beat Granada by a single goal, means they are now three points off the pace with their destiny out of their hands.

All appeared to be well when Cristiano Ronaldo put them ahead, but a host of missed chances and a Carlos Bacca brace condemned them to defeat.

The night ended on a tense note too as Ronaldo openly complained at Gareth Bale taking an injury-time free-kick ahead of him and putting it into the stands.

As a result of all that, it could end up being a significant night in Real's season and if, they do miss out on the title, will no doubt reflect on it with significant regret.

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