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Hazard blow rocks Rafa

CHELSEA forward Eden Hazard is out of tonight's Europa League final with Benfica due to a hamstring injury, but captain John Terry will be given a chance to prove he has recovered from his ankle problem.

Hazard (below) and defender Terry suffered the injuries in last Saturday's 2-1 Premier League win at Aston Villa.

Interim boss Rafael Benitez confirmed Belgian forward Hazard's absence at the eve-of-match press conference and revealed a final decision on Terry would be made ahead of kick-off at the Amsterdam ArenA.

"Hazard will not be available," Benitez said. "John still we will try and see how he feels."

Terry missed last season's Champions League final win in Munich through suspension and his injury means he faces further continental heartache.

"Now it's not easy for him," Benitez added. "It's not the best injury, but we will see today... with the medical staff and after we will decide."

The 32-year-old former England captain's place in the side was already doubtful in a competitive position in central defence, with David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic the Blues' other options.

The loss of Belgian playmaker Hazard will be more keenly felt by the Blues as they go in search of back-to-back European trophies.

Coupled with the concern over John Obi Mikel, who has a hip problem, it may mean Frank Lampard is included, in all likelihood as captain.

Lampard, who became the club's record goalscorer by netting twice in the win at Villa Park, could be deployed in a deep midfield role alongside Luiz, with Ramires pushed further forward alongside Juan Mata and Oscar.

Chelsea travelled to Amsterdam with a 25-man squad, with left-back Ryan Bertrand (knee) a doubt, but midfielder Oriol Romeu is in contention following his long-term absence with a knee problem.

Demba Ba also travelled, but the striker is ineligible after playing for former club Newcastle earlier in the competition.

Terry joined his team-mates for the start of training at the Amsterdam ArenA, but was working with the physio on his own as the rest of the team warmed up together.

The skipper's appearance was brief before he returned to the changing room.

Meanwhile, Petr Cech hopes a second successive tumultuous season can finish with a European trophy.

Last season, after the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto di Matteo guided Chelsea to Champions League glory. This season, following Di Matteo's dismissal, Benitez is on the verge of guiding the Blues to Europe's second tier prize.

"Winning back-to-back European trophies, it would be a great story too, with more or less the same circumstances, having to change the manager during the course of the season again. Hopefully it will be the same end," said Cech.


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