The dreaded international injury curse has struck again for Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho as young defender Kurt Zouma was withdrawn from France U21s' 2-0 victory over Sweden.
The Portuguese boss has in the past lamented the international break as a number of players over the years have returned battered and bruised.
This week, his intentions turned to the alleged fitness worries of striker Diego Costa, although despite coming through the game in Slovakia without any problems the same can’t be said for Zouma.
The talented French U21 international had to be replaced before half-time following a reported thigh strain and he now appears a doubt for Tuesday’s second leg clash in Sweden.
Whilst initial reports were daunting, a local French reporter has suggested that France U21 boss Pierre Mankowski believes that the injury is not serious - but he will likely miss the game next week.
19-year-old Zouma joined the Blues at the end of the January 2014 transfer window for a reported £12 million fee from Ligue 1 outfit Saint-Etienne.
Described as a powerful central defender with excellent technique, the 6ft 3inch youngster has been tipped to become a future captain both at Stamford Bridge and with the national team.
He made his competitive debut for Mourinho’s side in the 2-1 League Cup third round victory over Bolton Wanderers and he will look to replace the aging John Terry in the near future.