MADRID, July 25 (Reuters) - Barcelona defender Marc Muniesa, who had been expected to step up from their youth ranks to the first team this season, will be out of action for up to six months after damaging knee ligaments, the club said on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old centre-back sustained the injury during Barca's 2-1 pre-season friendly win at Hamburg SV on Tuesday, when highly rated youngster Gerard Deulofeu and Dani Alves scored the goals.
New Barca coach Tito Vilanova got off to a winning start in his first game in charge, despite missing many of his first-choice players including Lionel Messi.
Muniesa's injury reduces Vilanova's options in the centre of defence, and Pep Guardiola's former assistant stated at his presentation last month the club were keen to secure reinforcements in this position.
Reporting by Mark Elkington, editing by Stephen Wood