Premier League champions Chelsea have already endured a dismal 2015-16 season so far and before the impressive 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday, they received more bad news at the turn of the new year. Striker Radamel Falcao has been sidelined after suffering another injury setback.
Falcao sustained a thigh injury on the eve of the Champions League tie against Dynamo Kyiv in November and was under a rehabilitation program overseen by the medical staff at Stamford Bridge.
It is understood he was making progress towards full recovery but interim manager Guus Hiddink has confirmed the Colombian suffered a relapse of the same injury during a practice match at the Cobham Training Ground last week.
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Falcao will remain unavailable until mid-January - at the earliest - before the Dutch manager can contemplate picking him for first-team action.
“We had him in a game and he had this injury again that he had before, on the inside of his thigh. He is back to square one, I think so. He’s in treatment at the moment. He cannot appear on the pitch,” the Dutch boss told the Daily Mail.
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He added: “He was out and our medical staff tried to build him up, and he had a setback which is not always a positive signal. We hope within 10 days he might be fit again – but not to play.”
The 29-year-old haven’t been able to recapture the form that once made him one of the most dynamic forwards in Europe.
Ever since the horrific knee injury he suffered at Monaco that ruled him of the World Cup in 2014, Falcao has not been the menacing figure that earned him so much recognition at Porto and Atletico Madrid.
No impact since United days
He was aiming to improve the performances he showed with Manchester United last term but despite joining the champions, he has largely failed to showcase any form and has a solitary goal in 11 league outings.
Predominately used as a backup to Diego Costa - who has had his own issues this season - Falcao has been unable to force his way into the starting line-up.
Chelsea might have wanted to offload him once the January transfer window opens, but the latest injury will hinder their plans.
AS Monaco's headache
His parent club Monaco have no problems of welcoming back Falcao but if the Blues cut short the loan spell, the French side have to re-commence paying £265,000-a-week wages of which, Chelsea will be entitled to pay just half.
Monaco can afford to add him to their squad but also want the west-London outfit to help them find him his next destination.
Falcao has not played in Chelsea colours since the 3-1 defeat against Liverpool on October 31, but remains optimistic he can prove his doubters wrong and again score regularly under the watchful guidance of manager Guus Hiddink.