Van der Vaart out for three weeks

BARCELONA - Real Madrid and Netherlands midfielder Rafael van der Vaart will be out for at least three weeks after damaging a thigh muscle at Real Zaragoza on Saturday, the club said on Monday.

Van der Vaart, who was replaced by Raul after a quarter of an hour of Real's 2-1 victory at the Romareda, is an important part of the Dutch squad that will compete at the World Cup in South Africa starting in June.

A scan had revealed the extent of the damage, Real said on their website, and Van der Vaart could miss all four of the club's remaining league matches, at home to Osasuna on May 2, at Real Mallorca on May 5, at home to Athletic Bilbao on May 9 and at Malaga on May 16.

The Netherlands begin their World Cup campaign against Denmark on June 14. Cameroon and Japan are also in Group E.

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