Kylian Mbappe suffered from muscle fatigue in Paris Saint-Germain's win at Lorient, says Christophe Galtier, who has eased fears over the attacker's fitness ahead of the World Cup.

Danilo Pereira's late header sent PSG five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 on Sunday, after in-form Terem Moffi had cancelled out Neymar's opener at the Stade du Moustoir.

However, Mbappe attracted attention by heading straight down the tunnel following his 85th-minute withdrawal.

France will already be without Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante for their World Cup defence, while Karim Benzema has missed several of Real Madrid's fixtures during an injury-hit season, including the upcoming meeting with Rayo Vallecano.

Galtier, however, quashed concerns over Mbappe's condition after the win, telling Amazon Prime Video: "[It's] nothing serious. We saw the news about Karim, but nothing serious for Kylian. 

"Kylian made an effort. It's much better to ask to go off than to take the risk of staying on the pitch, or being on the pitch and being totally absent."

In his post-match press conference, Galtier revealed Mbappe had been suffering from fatigue as a result of PSG's congested schedule. 

"There is no alert in a specific area, it's fatigue linked to the sequence of matches," Galtier said. "The playing conditions were difficult. 

"He also came out tired after Juventus on Wednesday. It's a very busy schedule, with a certain apprehension. Everyone is listening to their body in this pre-World Cup period. There can be a fear."

With PSG failing to meet their usual standards in their penultimate game before the World Cup break, Galtier believes the spectre of the tournament caused his side to play with "restraint".

"Automatically, the World Cup is in the minds of the players. It's hard for them to manage. There is always information that can make them doubt," Galtier said.

"You have the feeling of playing at 100 per cent, but today I saw a certain restraint, linked to fatigue, plus the announcement of the squads in a few days. 

"We did a little less, we were a little fearful in duels, but fatigue also made it difficult in the second half."

PSG were without Lionel Messi against Lorient, though he is expected to return before the World Cup break.

Damian Penaud's fantastic late score helped France to a record-breaking 11th straight Test victory in an exhilarating 30-29 win over Australia at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Playing their first game since securing a Six Nations Grand Slam, Les Bleus – many people's tip for glory at their home World Cup next year – were not always at their coherent best.

But the hosts earned a dramatic late win via Penaud to rack up the best run in the nation's history and break Australian hearts in a barnstorming encounter.

Bernard Foley and Thomas Ramos exchanged a couple of penalties and Charles Ollivon had a score ruled out by the time Lalakai Foketi touched down in sensational fashion for the visitors.

Turning defence into attack, Len Ikitau fed Tom Wright, who outstripped Penaud and fed inside to debutant full-back Jock Campbell before he in turn found Foketi for a 95-metre try.

A couple of Ramos three-pointers and a Julien Marchand try had France, somewhat flatteringly, six points in front at the break but - after Foley and Ramos exchanged penalties again - Campbell's debut score and five more points from Foley had Australia in front.

Ramos and Reece Hodge this time swapped three-pointers before late drama ensued. Matthieu Jalibert broke and found Penaud, who jockeyed outside then inside Campbell before touching down and sending France into next week's encounter with world champions South Africa on the back on an enthralling triumph.

Xavi believes Lionel Messi could finally get his hands on the World Cup in Qatar, tipping Argentina alongside Brazil as favourites to land the trophy.

The closest Messi has come to being a World Cup winner was when Argentina were beaten by Germany in the 2014 final.

His unprecedented seven Ballon d'Or successes underline Messi's individual greatness, but he is missing the most valued team prize of all.

Winning the Copa America with Argentina last year gave him a first major title in senior international football, with Argentina getting the better of Brazil at the Maracana in the final.

Now, at the age of 35, and in his final World Cup, Argentina captain Messi goes again, with former Barcelona team-mate Xavi strongly rating the Albiceleste's chances.

"Argentina and Brazil are a step ahead of everyone else," Xavi said on Friday.

"I see them very strong as a team, also with individual players, physical and in terms of tactics and strategy as well, they're two great teams.

"I think they're a step ahead of some of the best European teams right now. But in a World Cup you can never know. Everything can become complicated."

Xavi, a World Cup winner in 2010 with Spain and now head coach at Barcelona, added: "The European teams are very important: Spain, France, even England, have got very strong national sides, but I think Brazil and Argentina are a step stronger."

Brazil are five-time World Cup winners but have not triumphed since Ronaldo's eight goals drove them to 2002 glory, while Argentina have carried off the trophy twice, in 1978 and 1986.

Messi, surprisingly, has never scored in the knockout rounds and is four goals behind Gabriel Batistuta, Argentina's World Cup record scorer (10 goals).

European teams have dominated the World Cup in recent times, with Italy, Spain, Germany and France winning the last four editions.

Massimiliano Allegri says there is no point in dwelling on the absence of Paul Pogba after the Juventus midfielder was ruled out of the World Cup.

It was announced on Monday that Pogba will play no part in France's bid to retain their title in Qatar due to a knee injury.

Pogba has not played a competitive game for Juve since returning to the Serie A club as a free agent in July after his Manchester United contract expired.

The 29-year-old underwent surgery last month and although he recently returned to training, he must now undergo further rehabilitation.

Bianconeri head coach Allegri says Pogba has been sorely missed, but felt it had looked increasingly unlikely he could play in the World Cup.

He said: "It is useless to repeat what has already been said: once the decision was made not to have an operation at the beginning of the season, it was normal for the hopes that he could return with Juventus and France. They were reduced to a flicker.

"He is sorry for Juventus and the World Cup, it is normal, we have been penalised for not having him available."

Juve will also be without Weston McKennie and Dusan Vlahovic when they face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday due to injury.

Allegri revealed he is hopeful striker Vlahovic will return against Inter on Sunday, with Angel Di Maria and Gleison Bremer also set to be back for that Serie A match

The Turin giants will attempt to secure a Europa League spot when they face Group G leaders PSG at Allianz Stadium, while fourth-placed Maccabi Haifa are also in the hunt for third place when they take on Benfica. 

Allegri expects his players to use the anger of being knocked out of the Champions League to drive them up the Serie A table.

He said: "I'm angry, not comparing with the best from March onwards creates anger. It has to give us incentives, it has to create a reaction, but we think about the championship after the matches with Inter, Verona and Lazio.

"It is normal that the matches in the Champions League, as results, they are very bad and this shows the results in the league in a more negative way. But we will think about the championship from the day after tomorrow."

Paul Pogba will miss France's World Cup campaign, the Juventus midfielder's agent has confirmed.

The 29-year-old, who was a member of Didier Deschamps' triumphant squad at Russia 2018, had been expected to figure once more for Les Bleus if fit.

But having returned to Turin from Manchester United during the close season, Pogba has struggled with a knee injury, with delayed surgery keeping him stuck on the sidelines.

Now, the player's agent Rafaela Pimenta says he will not return to either domestic duty with Juventus, nor make the plane to Qatar with France, in what is one of the biggest injury blows ahead of the tournament.

"Following yesterday and today's medical review in Torino and Pittsburgh, it is extremely painful to [say] Paul Pogba will still need recovery time from his surgery," Pimenta told Telefoot on Monday.

"For this reason, Paul will not be able to join [the] Juventus squad before the World Cup break, nor the French national team in Qatar. If wishful thinking would change things, Paul would be playing tomorrow.

"But what changes things are hard work, resilience and discipline, all of which are the only things in Paul's mind [during] these challenging times.

"Paul will continue working [and] giving his very best to be back on the pitch for the fans and his team as soon as possible."

Less than three weeks out from the World Cup, Juventus also provided an update on the fitness of injured United States midfielder Weston McKennie.

"Weston McKennie underwent radiological examinations at J|Medical which showed muscular overload in the rectus femoris of the right thigh," the statement read. "His condition will be evaluated daily."

France begin their World Cup defence against Australia on November 22, before facing Denmark and Tunisia in their other two Group D matches.

Manuel Neuer and Lucas Hernandez were back in Bayern Munich training on Monday, with their respective hopes of being fit for the World Cup seemingly receiving a boost.

Bayern captain Neuer had been struggling with a shoulder injury that forced him to miss six games, but he returned to goalkeeper training ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Inter.

As recently as last week Nagelsmann did not want to commit to Neuer being ready to feature for Germany at the World Cup, saying he is not a "mystic".

But he appears hopeful of being able to call upon the 36-year-old away to Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

"We hope he'll be available again for the weekend. He came through training well and didn't show any reaction. But we'll have to wait and see," Nagelsmann told reporters.

Tuesday's game will also come too soon for Hernandez, not that the match has much riding on it – Bayern and Inter are already confirmed as Group C winners and runners-up respectively.

However, the France international is close to a return to action after suffering an adductor tear in September, with Monday seeing him take part in full team training.

Thomas Muller remains sidelined for the time being as well.

The Germany attacker has struggled lately with a hip issue, and Nagelsmann accepts he may not even be available to face Hertha.

"We'll reduce Thomas's workload this week and see how things are for the weekend," Nagelsmann said.

"But I'm leaning more towards him not being back at the weekend."

Matthijs de Ligt is a new name to be added to the injury list for Tuesday with a minor knee injury, leaving Nagelsmann's squad down to its bare bones as they look to end the group stage with maximum points.

"We will have to rotate a bit because we have some injured players who shouldn't play more than 45 minutes," he added.

"Nevertheless, we want to win the game. Anyone can show themselves. It's still a Champions League game and 18 points would be nice."

However, Nagelsmann suggested he will not give chances to youngsters who do not deserve an opportunity as he bemoaned the Under-19s' Youth League elimination after winning none of their first five group games.

"We'll take everyone but we'll see [on Tuesday] whether [youngsters] get chances," he continued.

"In general, I'm a friend of the fact that you have to earn success. You have to develop your genes, which is particularly important for young players at FC Bayern Munich.

"Success is part of a good education. You're doomed to win here at the club, so it's a shame we were eliminated so early in the Youth League.

"At FC Bayern, you always have to be the best in the youth teams so that the step-up to the pros isn't so big."

Barcelona have confirmed Jules Kounde and Eric Garcia suffered respective thigh and hip issues in the Blaugrana's win over Valencia.

Robert Lewandowski scored a last-gasp winner at Mestalla on Saturday, as Barca claimed a LaLiga victory in response to their Champions League exit in midweek.

However, both starting centre-backs failed to make it through the game, with Garcia taken off in the 42nd minute and Kounde making way in the 74th.

Kounde, a big-money signing from Sevilla, has had a stuttering start to his Barca career, having only returned from a hamstring problem, which he sustained while on international duty with France in September, on October 16.

Barca announced in a medical update on Sunday that Kounde has a left thigh strain, while Spain defender Garcia – who like his team-mate will be hoping to return to fitness ahead of the World Cup – has sustained what the club described as a muscle strain in his left hip.

No timeline was given for the duo's return, though the club did clarify that both issues were "low", suggesting they are minor injuries. Neither player will feature against Viktoria Plzen in Barca's final Champions League match on Tuesday.

Didier Deschamps wants Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba to prove they can contribute at Qatar 2022 after announcing he will not be taking any injured players to the World Cup.

The France boss said everyone who travels to the finals, where Les Bleus will be defending the title they won in Russia, must be able to contribute immediately.

Manchester United centre-back Varane is not expected to play any club football until the Qatar 2022 finals get under way, after suffering a leg injury, while Pogba is back in training with Juventus after knee surgery but will not be rushed back to action.

"It's absolutely clear," Deschamps said in an interview with French website Brut. "I've never embarked on a big competition with an injured player, even if there are some who can come up with examples from 2018 with our full-backs who were Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe.

"They were healed. After that, it's about athletic condition. And between the time I made the list and what should have happened, that didn't happen… there you go.

"But leaving for a big competition with players who are not ready, already it occupies too much attention, and for those who have to play, it also monopolises the medical staff. I consider that we must leave with valid and capable players."

Pogba is still waiting to make an impact on the pitch in his second spell at Juventus, having rejoined the Serie A giants from Manchester United.

There is a strong will from Deschamps for the midfielder to be on the plane to Qatar, and Pogba may well return to club action in the coming weeks.

The coach has plenty of sympathy for the 29-year-old who has had a tough time away from football lately.

An investigation was opened in August into allegations Pogba was the target of an extortion plot by his brother Mathias and childhood friends demanding a €13million sum.

Mathias Pogba and four others were charged in relation to the matter and Deschamps regards Paul Pogba as "a victim".

"That it's been a very difficult moment for him, yes," Deschamps said.

"I talk to him regularly. He's someone who has a big mentality. Obviously, relating to his injury, it's not easy to manage. But psychologically, he's fine."

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz now know their opponents in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand after the draw on Saturday in New Zealand.

The Girlz have been drawn in Group F alongside powerhouses Brazil, France and either Taiwan, Panama, Paraguay or Papua New Guinea.

Brazil has been to nine World Cups with their best result being runners-up in 2007 while the French have been to five, most notably finishing fourth in 2011.

Jamaica will open their campaign against France on July 25 in Sydney before facing Chinese Taipei/Panama/Paraguay/Papua New Guinea on July 29 in Perth then battling Brazil on August 2 in Melbourne.

“Excitement,” was Reggae Girlz head coach Lorne Donaldson’s reaction when asked about the draw.

“It was a long day of anticipating. The draw itself was a draw with some exciting teams that play good football so we have to come out and try to match them.”

Jamaica was also drawn against Brazil in the 2019 World Cup, suffering a 0-3 loss in Grenoble.

“This is a totally different Brazil side. It’s a younger team with a different coach. Obviously, we have our work cut out against a fast, skillful Brazilian team so we have to be ready.”

Karim Benzema faces time on the Real Madrid sidelines after the Ballon d'Or winner was revealed to be suffering with muscular fatigue in his left leg.

With one month to go until France begin their World Cup campaign against Australia, the news of Benzema's exertions taking their toll may be of some concern to Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps.

For now, there is no suggestion Benzema will not be fit to play a full role in the Qatar 2022 tournament, but the injury announcement is a reminder all players are susceptible amid a packed fixture schedule for Europe's top clubs.

A Madrid club statement read: "Following tests carried out today on Karim Benzema by the Real Madrid medical services, he has been diagnosed with muscular fatigue in the quadricep muscle of his left leg. His recovery will be monitored."

Reports in Spain said that, as well as missing Saturday's game against Sevilla, Benzema was also expected to be absent for the Champions League fixture at RB Leipzig on Tuesday.

However, Benzema could be back for the LaLiga clash with Girona on Sunday, October 30, sports daily Marca reported.

Benzema won the Ballon d'Or for his feats last season, when his 44 goals in 46 games helped Madrid triumph in LaLiga and the Champions League.

He scored in last Sunday's 3-1 win over Barcelona as Madrid went clear at the top of the Spanish top flight, before netting again on Wednesday in the 3-0 victory at Elche, where he played the full 90 minutes.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has continued to have a positive impact at Milan during his recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, according to Stefano Pioli. 

The 41-year-old, who has scored 33 goals in 60 league appearances in his second spell with the Rossoneri, underwent surgery in May.

Ibrahimovic's career appeared to be in danger at that time, but the Sweden great declared last month: "If I see a player stronger than me, I'll stop. But I haven't seen him yet."

While the striker is not expected to feature for the Scudetto holders until 2023, Pioli says he has been a "positive" figure around the Rossoneri squad during his layoff. 

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Serie A meeting with Monza, Pioli said: "Zlatan, in everything he says and does, is never trivial. He is very intelligent.

"He knows how we want to play and how we prepare for matches, and he confronts me. His presence is positive.

"His recovery is still a little bit long. It will take some time to see him again on the pitch; it is nice, however, to see him here in Milanello, he is fine with the boys."

 

Milan have won seven of their first 10 games of a Serie A season as defending champions for the first time since 1992-93, when they retained the Scudetto, but they still sit three points adrift of leaders Napoli.

However, Pioli believes his side deserve to have won more points than they have, adding: "The calendar is completely different, compared to the first half of last year.

"In my opinion, we deserved to collect something more, like with Napoli [a 2-1 home loss last month], for example. Then there were some negative situations that need to be improved. Our level must always be high."

Pioli also offered an update on the condition of Mike Maignan following reports suggesting the France goalkeeper could miss the World Cup after suffering a setback in his battle against a calf injury.

"We are sorry for Mike," Pioli said. "We evaluated everything possible, he wanted to play in Verona [last Sunday], we had checked everything, but this injury will keep him out at least until January."

While the absence of Maignan would leave France lacking competition for Hugo Lloris between the sticks, French media reports have since claimed the 27-year-old could still recover in time to travel to Qatar, with Pioli's words said to be referring only to his club availability.

Franck Ribery's playing career has come to an end.

On Friday, the former France and Bayern Munich winger announced his retirement at the age of 39, having agreed to terminate his deal with Serie A club Salernitana.

He signed for Salernitana ahead of last season, though for the first time since the 2004-05 season, failed to score in the league.

His sole Serie A appearance this season came in a 1-0 defeat to Roma back in August, as a second-half substitute, and in truth it was no surprise when rumours recently emerged of his imminent retirement.

There can be no doubt, however, that Ribery will go down as one of European football's greats of the modern era.

In 2013, Ribery was nominated for the Ballon d'Or, finishing third in the voting behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Falling short against two of the best to play the game is no shame, and using Opta data, here are some of the key facts from Ribery's glittering career.

Ligue 1 breakthrough

Having made a name for himself with Brest in Ligue 2, Ribery was recruited by Metz in 2004. He spent only half a season there and scored just one goal before joining Turkish giants Galatasaray, yet he made a big impact, with comparisons drawn to one of the club's greatest exports, Robert Pires.

His only goal in Turkey came in the Turkish Cup final against Gala's great rivals Fenerbahce, in a 5-1 victory. Having claimed his first trophy, Ribery headed home to France, signing for Marseille.

It was a messy move, with FIFA ultimately ruling in Ribery's favour after the player claimed he had not been paid his wages by Gala, as well as alleging to have been threatened by his former agent and a club director. 

Ribery spent two seasons with Marseille and became a star, being named the National Union of Professional Footballers' (UNFP) Young Player of the Year in 2006. 

His performances at the 2006 World Cup (more on that later) only increased his profile, with Marseille seeing off interest from Real Madrid, Arsenal and, controversially, rivals Lyon to keep hold of Ribery.

 

That decision paid off for OM. In his final campaign in France, in 2006-07, Ribery provided eight assists, behind only Nancy's Benjamin Gavanon (nine), and had the highest tally of chances created per 90 minutes (2.95) among players who had featured for over 100 minutes across the season.

Marseille finished second, after losing in the final of the Coupe de France, and Ribery was named the French Player of the Year by France Football.

Flourishing for France

Ribery made his debut for Les Bleus in May 2006, ahead of the World Cup in Germany, where he truly made his name as a superstar.

Between making his debut and playing his final international match in March 2014, Ribery featured in more France games than any other player (81) in the same period, 11 ahead of second-ranked Florent Malouda.

Indeed, his 37 goal involvements (16 goals, 21 assists) was more than any other French player, and puts him sixth on the nation's goal involvements list in the 21st century.

He helped France reach the final of the 2006 World Cup, though they failed to make it out of the group stage in South Africa four years later, while success also eluded them in the Euros during Ribery's stint on the international stage.

Greatness in Germany

In 2007, Bayern paid Marseille €25million for the 24-year-old. It was an investment worth every cent.

Ribery went on to play 425 times for Bayern in all competitions, making him the non-German player with the second-most appearances for the club, behind David Alaba (431), since 1965.

When it comes to French players, only Jonathan Schmid has made more Bundesliga appearances (296) than Ribery (273), who scored 124 goals in all competitions for Bayern.

Since detailed data collection of the Bundesliga began in 2004, Thomas Muller is the only player to provide more assists than Ribery, who set up 92 goals.

Ribery was at the peak of his powers in the 2012-13 season, as he helped Bayern win the treble and was named UEFA Men's Player of the Year, before going on to come third in the Ballon d'Or rankings.

That season, he provided 14 assists in the Bundesliga, a total trailing only Andres Iniesta (16) when it came to players in Europe's big five leagues.

Ribery left Bayern as a club great, having formed one of the all-time most fearsome wing partnerships with Arjen Robben. He won nine Bundesliga titles, a tally that trails only former club-mates Alaba and Robert Lewandowski (10 each) when it comes to foreign players in Germany's top tier.

 

Italian swansong

After leaving Bayern, Ribery tried his hand in Italy, joining Fiorentina.

Over his two seasons in Florence, Ribery created 70 goalscoring opportunities in Serie A, behind only Erick Pulgar (104) in Fiorentina's squad. His dribbling ability was still top class, too, with Gaetano Castrovilli his only team-mate to complete more dribbles (123 to Ribery's 117).

Ribery played 51 times for Fiorentina in all competitions, starting on 47 occasions. He scored five goals, contributed nine assists and had 182 touches in the opposition's box. Surprisingly, he played only five successful crosses, though he was often deployed in a more central role for La Viola.

In his 25 matches for Salernitana, Ribery failed to score, though his three assists in Serie A mean he is the club's joint-top creator of goals, alongside Milan Djuric and Pasquale Mazzocchi, in the same timeframe. 

Former France and Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has announced his retirement from football.

Ribery's deal with Salernitana would have taken his stay at the Serie A side up to the end of this season, but he has decided to hang his boots up now.

The 39-year-old also played for a number of other clubs in a 22-year career, including Metz, Galatasaray, Marseille and Fiorentina.

Ribery spent the bulk of his career at Bayern, though, where he won nine Bundesliga titles in 12 years.

He also won six DFB-Pokal titles, one Champions League, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup.

In his time at the Bavarian giants, Ribery made 273 Bundesliga appearances, recording 86 goals and 92 assists.

He wrote on Twitter: "The ball stops. The feelings inside me do not. Thanks to everyone for this great adventure."

 

Ribery forged a spectacular wing partnership with Arjen Robben, with the duo terrorising defences from either flank during their decade together in Munich, before both left the club in 2019.

Ribery won 81 caps for France in all, scoring 16 times before retiring from international football in 2014, and was a member of Les Bleus' squad when they finished as runners-up to Italy at the 2006 World Cup.

He moved to Fiorentina after leaving Germany, scoring five and assisting nine goals in 51 appearances before signing for Salernitana in 2021.

Overall he managed just three assists in 25 games for the club, and featured only twice this season, both times in August, in the Coppa Italia against Parma and as a substitute in the 1-0 Serie A defeat at home to Roma.

Ribery will remain at Salernitana in a non-playing capacity, the club said.

Massimiliano Allegri ruled out Paul Pogba from his Juventus plans for Friday's clash with Empoli, saying it would be "pure madness" to rush the midfielder's recovery.

Juventus have been unable to field Pogba or Federico Chiesa this season, with the France midfielder undergoing knee surgery last month and Italy forward Chiesa suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in January.

Pogba was initially a doubt for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, although France coach Didier Deschamps was upbeat regarding his recovery earlier this week.

Speaking at Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony, Deschamps said: "His programme is going well. The important thing is that he is cured, I think he will be, and this is already a good thing."

Despite both Pogba and Chiesa being pictured in team training recently, head coach Allegri said Juventus must treat their returns with caution.

"Let's see the real things, the reality today is that Chiesa and Pogba don't have them," Allegri told a pre-match news conference on Thursday.

"Chiesa did two training sessions with the team, Pogba trained temporarily, but very partially with the team. Avoid writing all that stuff there, you have a fantasy.

"Players have not even trained with the team [and you] write that after two days they are available. Fantasy is a power and it is very beautiful. Tomorrow they will not be there.

"I, too, would like everyone available, especially to make changes. With those we have, we will have a great match tomorrow, and we will prepare well for Benfica.

"Chiesa has already made progress. On Saturday morning there will be a friendly for Federico, to see how he moves on the whole field.

"Paul has done some partial work with the team, but we are on Thursday and until Tuesday there are four days. Damaging his work is pure madness."

After their meeting with Empoli, Juventus will have just three days to recover ahead of the decisive Champions League clash with Benfica, but Allegri would not be drawn on whether striker Dusan Vlahovic would be rested on Friday.

"Dusan, regardless of his goal, played one of the best games on a technical level [against Torino last week]," Allegri said.

"[Moise] Kean also did well, I'm happy with Moise because he's growing, he's physically better, and he makes himself available for the team above all.

"To obtain results, everyone must be available, and there seem to be good signs of this. Tomorrow will not be easy; among other things, they beat us last year."

Vlahovic has scored three goals in three Serie A appearances against Empoli, including his first league double for Juventus in February. The Serbian has also hit the net five times in five home league games this season.

N'Golo Kante will miss France's World Cup campaign after undergoing an operation on his hamstring, Chelsea have confirmed.

Kante suffered the injury in his Chelsea's 2-2 home draw with Tottenham in August and has not featured for club or country since.

Chelsea have now established Kante will play no part in France's defence of their World Cup crown, which starts with their opening group game against Australia on November 22.

In a statement on the club website, Chelsea said: "N'Golo Kante has undergone an operation on his hamstring injury.

"The midfielder visited a specialist with the club’s medical department to explore the options for his rehabilitation approach and it was mutually agreed for N'Golo to have surgery to repair the damage.

"Following a successful operation, N'Golo is now expected to be sidelined for four months."

Kante was a key member of the France side that won the 2018 World Cup, playing a part in all seven games as Les Bleus lifted the biggest prize in international football for the second time.

Reece James, Kante's Chelsea team-mate, faces a race against time to make England's squad for the tournament after suffering a knee injury against Milan.

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