The Israel Football Association have disputed Chelsea's claims that midfielder Yossi Benayoun suffered an Achilles tendon tear on international duty.

Benayoun is facing up to six months on the sidelines with the injury but the IFA insisted he arrived from England with the problem.

IFA chief spokesman Gil Lebanony said: "When Yossi Benayoun came to Israel he didn't practise with us, even for a single second.

"He came with pain in his Achilles tendon and with a diagnosis from Chelsea that it was only a small tear. But our doctor said immediately that it was a very serious problem and sent him for an MRI scan. The MRI doctor diagnosed the big tear immediately."

Lebanony added: "We're sorry that he is injured because Yossi is so important for us, as he is for Chelsea but we're not to blame for the injury."

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti had insisted Benayoun was injury free when he went to Israel.

Ancelotti said: "We are sure that, when he left England, they didn't have a tear on his tendon. We are sure of this.

"He had a calf problem. The MRI showed this problem, but the tendon was clear. He had a problem at the start of the season with inflammation on his tendon, had treatment and came back to play for us and the national team.

"I don't know what happened after he left England. I haven't asked him because I haven't seen him. I trust my doctor at this club, and we are sure. I can say this: he didn't have a tear on his tendon when he left England."

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Topics:
Internationals
Yossi Benayoun
Football
Chelsea
Premier League