MADRID, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing international break has brought nothing but bad news for La Liga sides Real Sociedad, Mallorca, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, all of which have seen key players suffer injuries.
Barca's 19-year-old midfielder Gavi went down under a challenge, tearing his right knee cruciate ligament, in Spain's 3-1 win at home to Georgia.
The worst has been confirmed with Gavi out for the rest of the season and also set to miss the European Championships and the Olympic Games.
Spain coach Luis de la Fuente called it "the most bitter victory" of his career, and it's not hard to imagine what Barca coach Xavi Hernandez is thinking after losing a player who is one of the first names on his team-sheet every week in a game where Spain had little to play for.
Goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen is probably the first name down on Xavi's list and Ter Stegen returned early from the German national team with a back problem. The club will carry out tests on Ter Stegen early this week, but he's also a doubt for their visit to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
Real Madrid have also had a dreadful international break, with Vinicius Jr suffering a relapse of his hamstring injury that looks likely to put him in the stands until February.
Eduardo Camavinga is also going to be out for two months after a training accident after duty with France saw him damage knee ligaments.
Those losses would be bad enough on their own, but they come with Eder Militao, Thibaut Courtois, Aurelian Tchouameni, Kepa and Arda Guler all out of action. No wonder the club were keen for Jude Bellingham not to play for England after hurting his shoulder two weeks ago.
Elsewhere, Mikel Oyarzabal stretched for a ball in Spain's win against Cyprus and tweaked a hamstring. The Real Sociedad forward is reportedly keen to try and play next weekend, but will more likely miss their home game against Sevilla next Sunday and then rest for their Champions League tie at home to RB Salzburg the following week.
Mallorca may be the worst affected of all after Vedat Muriqi was injured in Kosovo's game against Israel. The big striker is absolutely vital for the side currently fourth from bottom of the table, both for his goals and his assists and avoiding relegation has now become that bit harder for Javier Aguirre's side.
Why are the injuries happening? An increased workload of matches could be to blame. Real Sociedad, Barcelona and Real Madrid are all playing in Europe and competing twice a week, with less recovery time and that could certainly explain some muscle injuries.
Meanwhile, the desire to eradicate time-wasting means that matches now regularly have 10 minutes injury time, which is making them 10 percent longer. Over a season of 50 matches, that is 500 minutes more football - an extra five and a half games. If international matches are on top of that, it's easy to see why the bodies of some players are saying 'stop.' ■