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Spain and Deportivo La Coruna were united in relief on Thursday when tests confirmed that Diego Tristan had not sustained a serious injury and could be back in action by the end of the month.

The prolific striker damaged the quadricep muscle in his left thigh while training with the Spain squad ahead of Wednesday's friendly win over Northern Ireland.

However, fears that he might miss the rest of the season - and possibly the World Cup - proved unfounded as a scan confirmed that he had not sustained any long-term damage to his femur bone.

"The injury is not that serious and I hope to be back for the Malaga game on April 28," said Tristan.

Deportivo club doctor Cesar Cobian added: "I believe that he will only miss the match against Valencia. It is just a small tear to the left quadricep muscle."

Meanwhile, Deportivo coach Javier Irureta expressed his annoyance that international friendlies were arranged at such a crucial stage in the Spanish league calendar. "As a club coach I do not like my players being called up to play for their countries at this point in the season," he said.

"The workload on players becomes too heavy. But I understand that the national team needs to prepare before the tournament begins."

Tristan, however, stated on Wednesday that he believed the injury would have arisen whether he had been playing for Spain or not. "It could have happened to me in a training session with Depor," he said. "The national team are also very important and I hope Depor will not be too annoyed because they know that players have to play for their country."

Tristan also explained that he had spoken with national boss Jose Antonio Camacho, who promised that he would remain firmly in his World Cup plans.

After scoring 19 goals this season for Depor to become the league's top marksman, Tristan is a vital figure for the club as they prepare for the final leg of the season - beginning with Sunday's trip to title-rivals Valencia.
 
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