Chelsea's Premier League title defense has hit its first snag with Eden Hazard fracturing his ankle.

By SI.com Staff
June 05, 2017

Chelsea's Premier League title defense has hit its first snag.

Star playmaker Eden Hazard fractured his ankle while on international duty with Belgium, and he will miss the start of the 2017-18 season, the club announced Monday. Chelsea says it will be approximately three months before Hazard returns to training, putting his timetable for a comeback at early September. The injury could theoretically derail any potential transfer for the 26-year-old, who has been consistently linked with a move to Real Madrid.

Hazard, who underwent surgery on Monday and vowed that he "will be stronger," was Chelsea's second-leading scorer behind Diego Costa.

He scored 16 times and added five assists in a bounce-back season after a subpar 2015-16 campaign, helping Chelsea reclaim the title for a second time in three seasons, with a 10th-place finish sandwiched in between.

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