Football

Published: Tuesday April 22, 2014 MYT 2:32:01 AM
Updated: Tuesday April 22, 2014 MYT 2:32:58 AM

Chelsea forward Eto'o out of Atletico clash

MADRID (Reuters) - Chelsea forward Samuel Eto'o is out of Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first leg at Atletico Madrid because of injury.

The Cameroon international has a "minor knee irritation", while Belgium winger Eden Hazard travelled with the rest of the squad to Spain despite missing the last two games with a calf problem, the club said on their website (www.chelseafc.com) on Monday.

Eto'o scored seven goals in 12 appearances against Atletico for Real Madrid, Real Mallorca and Barcelona between 1999 and 2009 and Chelsea may miss his experience at the Calderon.

The 33-year-old's absence means former Atletico captain Fernando Torres, Demba Ba or Andre Schuerrle are likely to get the nod from manager Jose Mourinho who also spent time in Spain as coach of Atletico's city rivals Real.

Mourinho's record in nine games against Atletico over three seasons with Real was eight wins and one defeat, the only reverse coming in last season's King's Cup final.

"Of course no team arrives in a Champions League semi-final without being a very good team," Mourinho told a news conference at the Calderon stadium.

"And they (Atletico) are no exception so to be here they have to be a very good team," added the Portuguese.

Mourinho said he was sure Torres, if he featured against his boyhood club, would give everything for Chelsea.

"Playing in the Champions League is a big motivation for every player," he said.

"I am not saying that Fernando Torres will start, I am saying that he never hides. We feel that every day.

"He is a real Atletico supporter, I would say a big one. We talk about Spanish football every day.

"But he is a professional. I have no doubts that the minutes he will be on the pitch tomorrow he will do everything for Chelsea given the professional that he is."

The return leg is in London next week and the winners of the tie will play holders Bayern Munich or Real Madrid in the final in Lisbon on May 24.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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