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16th May 2019

Ruben Loftus-Cheek out of Europa League final after rupturing Achilles in friendly

Kyle Picknell

He was Chelsea’s best player during the semi-final tie against Eintracht Frankfurt and will now likely miss the final

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be out for at least six months after rupturing his Achilles tendon during the club’s charity friendly match against New England Revolution.

The 23-year-old England international went down in the first half holding his left ankle during the game, which took place at Gilette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Chelsea won the match comfortably thanks to a brace from Ross Barkley and a header by Olivier Giroud, but the loss of Loftus-Cheek, who dazzled during both semi-final legs against Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt, could prove costly with the Europa League final still to play.

Loftus-Cheek, who reached 10 goals in all competitions for the season after his opener in the second-leg at Stamford Bridge, was photographed leaving the stadium on crutches along with a protective boot around his left foot.

Even before the game, manager Maurizio Sarri expressed his concern over flying to the US for a friendly – albeit one that was raising money for charity – so close to a major European final.

Sarri said of the fixture: “We have to recover energy because we are really very tired.

“Unfortunately we have to go to the United States. I think in this moment we need to rest then we have 10 days to prepare for the final,” he added.

However, the friendly has been scheduled since March and was billed as an anti-discrimination game called “Final Whistle on Hate”, which was set up by the respective club owners: Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich and New England’s Robert Kraft.

It that aspect, at least, the game was a success, raising £3.1m ($4m) for organisations who combat hate crimes.

The Blues take on Arsenal in Azerbaijan on Wednesday, May 29 in Baku’s Olympic Stadium.