Real midfielder Van der Vaart sidelined for three weeks

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Real Madrid's Rafael Van Der Vaart (C) fights for the ball against Osasuna's Javier Camunas and Walter Pandiani during their Spanish first division soccer league match at Reyno de Navarra stadium in Pamplona, January 3, 2010.

MADRID, Jan. 11-- Real Madrid will be without midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart for around three weeks, the club confirmed on Monday.

The Dutch international was forced to leave the field after just 20 minutes of his side's 2-0 win at home to Mallorca on Sunday night.

He was replaced by Esteban Granero, who scored Real Madrid's second goal of the night.

Van der Vaart underwent tests to discover the extent of his problem on Monday morning and the club's medical staff confirmed that he had torn a muscle in left calf.

That injury will mean he misses next weekend's trip to play Athletic Bilbao, as well as the home match against Malaga and possibly the following game, which is away to Deportivo la Corua.

It is bad luck for the midfielder, who was told he could leave the club over the summer, but opted to stay and fight for his place in the first team.

Van der Vaart had been first choice following the injury to Brazilian star Kaka, but with Kaka having recovered the Dutch could struggle to recover his place in the side.