BARCELONA, Spain -- Spain striker David Villa ruled himself out of the European Championship on Tuesday after failing to recover from a leg injury that forced him to miss much of the last season with Barcelona.
While the decision was hardly a surprise, it still deals a blow to Spain's chances of defending the title as Villa played a key role in its runs to both the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup titles.
Villa is Spain's all-time leading scorer but hasn't played since fracturing his left shin in December, and Barcelona said Tuesday that Villa will not be fit in time for Euro 2012.
Barcelona said on its website that Villa made the decision himself "after not showing sufficient progress in his recovery in the last few training sessions."
The Spanish football federation said Villa talked to Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque on Tuesday and told him he's still not physically fit enough to play in a major tournament.
With Fernando Torres having struggled for Chelsea for most of the season, Del Bosque said last week that he still hoped Villa would be fit enough to play in Poland and Ukraine. Spain opens its defence on June 10 against Italy.
With Villa out, Bilbao's Fernando Llorente is likely to see more playing time at the Euros, while Valencia striker Roberto Soldado and Sevilla's Alvaro Negredo are leading candidates to take the vacant place in the squad. Del Bosque is set to announce his final squad on Sunday.
Villa broke his leg during the semifinals of the Club World Cup on Dec. 15.