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Chelsea receive boost as Atlético confirm José Giménez injury ahead of UCL tie

Atlético Madrid defender José Giménez has been ruled out of the first-leg of his side's Champions League Round of 16 tie against Chelsea.

The news comes as a bitter blow to Atlético boss Diego Simeone, who's been left short of options in central defence with the games coming thick and fast for Los Rojiblancos.

As reported by AS via MARCA, the Uruguayan international has picked up a muscular injury that will keep him on the sidelines for three weeks, meaning he'll be unavailable for his side's clash with Chelsea on February 23, a fixture that will be played in Bucharest owing to Covid restrictions.

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The 26-year-old is set to miss crunch ties against Granada, Levante and Villarreal, though it remains to be seen if he could be passed fit for Atlético's derby clash against Real Madrid on March 7.

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Atlético have been plagued with Covid-related personnel issues all around the pitch this season and currently have only three centre-backs available to call upon.

Giménez, who was linked with a move to Stamford Bridge last summer, has missed eight games across all competitions this season due to recurring injury issues.

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The La Liga leaders have enjoyed a stellar campaign so far, being eight points clear of Real Madrid and Barcelona in the league table with a game in hand, as they chase their first league win since the 2013/14 campaign.

The two-legged tie against Thomas Tuchel's resurgent Chelsea would provide a stern test for Simeone's side, who've twice been undone in the Champions League final by their city rivals under the Argentine boss.

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