Italian defender Andrea Barzagli was ruled out of the rest of Euro 2008 on Thursday after injuring his left knee in training, the Italian Football Federation said Thursday.
The 27-year-old VfL Wolfsburg defender – capped 23 times – will undergo an operation in Vienna carried out by Andrea Ferretti, one of the two team doctors, as well as Austrian surgeon Christian Gaebler, on Friday in Vienna.
Barzagli, a former Palermo captain and a member of the 2006 World Cup winning squad, played in the opening 3-0 defeat by Holland but hasn't played since.
Italy play Spain in their quarter-final in Vienna on Sunday and are already without suspended midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso.
In addition they have already had to come through their group games without World Cup defensive linchpin Fabio Cannavaro, injured in training on June 2 almost as soon as the squad arrived at their Austrian base.
Barzagli has won 23 caps and was in the victorious World Cup squad two years ago.
With his forced withdrawal the Italians are down to the bare bones for centre halves with youngster Giorgio Chiellini, Alessandro Gamberini – called up in place of Cannavaro – and Marco Materazzi, who lost his place after the opening-game mauling by Holland.
Against the Spanish Chiellini, 23, is likely to be paired with the 35-year-old Christian Panucci, as was the case in the draw against Romania and the win over France.
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