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Spain veteran Carles Puyol out for European Championships

Barcelona's captain Carles Puyol control

Barcelona’s captain Carles Puyol controls the ball during a training session on April 17, 2012 at London’s Stanford Bridge stadium on the eve of their UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg football match against Chelsea. AFP PHOTO/ LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Spain remains the favorite for the European Championships, followed by Germany, Holland, England, France and Italy, more or less in that order according to the wise guys.

But the reigning champs’ chances took a little hit with today’s news that center back Carles Puyol will miss the tournament with arthroscopic surgery set for later this week.

The Barcelona man has been a Spanish centerpiece for years, a starter as the reigning gold standard of European sides claimed trophies at Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010. He even scored in the 2010 semis as Spain toppled a quality German side.

But Puyol, 34, missed three months of the La Liga season with knee trouble, and officials determined that minor surgery was needed after recent issues arose.

Spanish manager Vicente Del Bosque is expected to announce his provisional squad on May 15. The tournament begins June 8.