Cesc Fabregas may be struggling with illness, which has cast doubt over his involvement in Tuesday’s crucial Champions League clash with Paris St Germain, but Chelsea will be desperate to have their Spanish schemer available at Parc des Princes.
The Blues travel to the French capital for the first leg of their eagerly anticipated last-16 showdown in Europe’s premier club competition in the knowledge that they have little margin for error.
With some of the finest talent in world football set to be on show – including the likes of Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the hosts – the contest could be settled by flashes of brilliance from key men.
Fabregas falls into that category for Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho having brought the best out of the former Arsenal man since returning him to the Premier League last summer.
Should he make the PSG clash, he will be expected to help run the show and keep rivals in the playmaking department quiet.
It could be that he locks swords with Italian midfielder Marco Verratti on a regular basis, with the highly-rated 22-year-old adding graft and guile to Laurent Blanc’s ranks.
The pair have already lit the touchpaper during a Puma-sponsored head-to-head interview in the build-up to the game, with superstitious Verratti making a shock prediction which left Fabregas momentarily lost for words.
He said: “Chelsea. I think they'll beat us 4-0! We Italians are very superstitious so before the game we prefer to predict that the opponents will win.”
Fabregas also believes that Mourinho’s men will prevail, but has gone for a much tighter 2-1 scoreline – which will set things up nicely for a return date at Stamford Bridge on March 11.
You can check out the full video below, with Verratti and Fabregas discussing a wide range of topics, including their favourite games and footballing heroes.
History, in a two-legged tie, is very much in Chelsea’s favour.
They were beaten 3-1 in Paris at the quarter-final stage 12 months ago, but hit back on home soil to secure a 2-0 success and progress to the last-four on away goals.
Prior to those meetings, back in 2004, Chelsea won 3-0 in France during the Champions League group stage and held firm during a 0-0 draw in west London.
PUMA recently launched its latest football campaign Head To Head. As the two international players battle it out on Tuesday night, Marco Verratti will wear the new PUMA evoSPEED 1.3 football boot for extra manoeuvrability and speed, whilst Cesc Fabregas wears the new evoPOWER 1.2 that provides him with additional kicking power and accuracy.