KALIDOU KOULIBALY has been ruled out of Chelsea’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Real Madrid.
Manager Frank Lampard confirmed the huge blow ahead of Saturday’s game against Brighton, revealing the defender will miss weeks with a hamstring injury.
The former Napoli man, 31, pulled up after making a superb run back to deny Rodrygo a clear run at goal early in the second half at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Koulibaly limped off and was replaced by Marc Cucurella, and will now miss the return leg with Chelsea already trailing 2-0.
Lampard said: “He won’t be available for either game, the hamstring injury is going to be a matter of weeks rather than days.
“He is a very good, very experienced player.
“People talk about our [big] squad, but we haven’t got lots of cover at certain times and the Champions League squad is different to the Premier League squad.
“It is a disappointment for him and us but an opportunity and we carry on without him and hopefully he gets fit as quick as he can.”
Chelsea’s huge squad meant Graham Potter was forced to leave a number of players out of their Champions League squad.
And Potter decided to omit January signing Benoit Badiashile, who would be the perfect replacement for Koulibaly.
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Instead Potter chose to include Mykhailo Mudryk, who has struggled to live up to his £88m price tag.
The Blues face a huge uphill battle to reach the semi-finals having conceded goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio in the first leg.
Lampard will also be without Ben Chilwell following his straight red card.