Injured Zouma out for rest of the season
Kurt Zouma will this week undergo knee surgery which will rule him out for the rest of the season and Euro 2016, Chelsea have announced.
The France defender injured his anterior cruciate ligament in Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Manchester United.
A statement on Chelsea's official website read: "Kurt will undergo surgery in the next 48 hours and is expected to be out for approximately six months."
Zouma has started 16 of the last 19 Chelsea matches in all competitions, displacing Gary Cahill as first choice alongside captain John Terry.
The Frenchman tweeted: "Scan today has shown I injured my ACL. I will have surgery this week & will come back stronger. Thank you everyone for all the messages."
Cahill, the England vice-captain, will welcome the opportunity to return to the starting XI, even if the circumstances are unfortunate for a team-mate.
Spanish full-back Cesar Azpilicueta said: "Gary is one of the veterans of the team. We know his quality and in this squad, it is always important to be ready."
Cahill will likely line-up alongside Terry in Saturday's Premier League clash with Newcastle.
Azpilicueta expects Terry to give his all for Chelsea amid his contract stand-off.
The 35-year-old captain thanked supporters following the draw with United, but said there had been no communication with the club over his future.
The Blues maintain that a contract offer could yet be tabled to Terry, who is set to make his 699th Chelsea appearance against the Magpies.
Azpilicueta added: "It's a situation between him and the club. I don't know what's happening. But since I arrived at Chelsea I have learnt a lot from him. I have played alongside him on the left for most of the time, even in training.
"For me, I see no difference in the way he's performing on the pitch, the way he's playing and he is giving everything for the team as always."