European football round-up: Chelsea's Eden Hazard to miss Europa League final

Belgian striker hurts hamstring and will join John Terry on the injury list ahead of game against Benfica.

Eden Hazard and John Terry are doubts for the Europa League final. Matt Dunham / AP Photo
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Chelsea's preparations for the Europa League final against Benfica were dealt a blow on Tuesday when manager Rafa Benitez revealed that Eden Hazard, their Belgian forward, will miss the game with a hamstring injury.

Hazard, one of the revelations of Chelsea's season, hurt himself during his side's 2-1 win at Aston Villa in the English Premier League on Saturday.

He travelled to Amsterdam with his teammates on Tuesday, along with club captain John Terry, who is a doubt with an ankle complaint, but Benitez said he would not feature in Wednesday's game.

"Hazard will not be available," Benitez said at Tuesday's pre-game news conference. "John, we will try and see how he feels. But we will decide tomorrow."

Were Terry to be declared unavailable, it would be the second time in two seasons that he has been forced to miss a major European final, after he sat out last year's Champions League triumph due to suspension.

The former England captain was not guaranteed to play in any case, however, having lost his place in Benitez's starting XI, but Hazard's absence will be keenly felt.

The 22 year old has scored 13 goals and laid on 20 assists since signing from Lille last year and was recently voted into the Professional Footballers' Association Team of the Year by his peers.

Wednesday's game gives Chelsea an opportunity to end a turbulent season by joining Juventus, Bayern Munich and Ajax as the only teams to have won all three of Europe's top club competitions, including the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup.

The Europa League was seen as something of an unwelcome consolation prize after Chelsea's Champions League title defence ended in a humiliating group-stage exit, but midfielder Frank Lampard says that is no longer the case.

"You can't have it your own way every year," he said.

"Last year things went our way and we had a good run to the final. We were disappointed to find ourselves in the Europa League this year, but the closer you get to the final, the more you want to win it."

Victory at the Amsterdam Arena will also make Benitez only the second coach after Giovanni Trapattoni to win the competition with two different clubs, after a previous success with Valencia in 2004.

Assistant manager quits Manchester City

David Platt, the Manchester City assistant manager, has left the club just a day after Roberto Mancini was sacked, the Premier League side announced on Tuesday.

The Italian manager Mancini was sacked on Monday after a trophy-less season for City was confirmed by their shock FA Cup Final loss to Wigan.

That Wembley defeat followed City's surrender of the Premier League title to local rivals Manchester United.

Platt, a former England midfielder, was offered the chance to stay at City, a club he joined in 2010, but instead decided to leave.

"With regret Manchester City announce that David Platt has this afternoon left his role as assistant manager at the club," a City statement said. "David was offered the opportunity to continue his work with us but has declined the invitation. He has decided to leave his role with his close friend Roberto Mancini.

"David has made a significant contribution to the Club's success since joining in 2010 and we wish him well with his career wherever that now takes him."

Platt was a member of Mancini's backroom staff at Eastlands, winning the FA Cup and then last season pipping United to the Premier League title on the final day.

Tougher measures to counter racism in Italy

Giancarlo Abete, the Italian football federation president, will ask Michel Platini, the Uefa chief, to introduce tough new legislation in a bid to drive racism from the sport following the latest incident to tarnish the game in Italy.

The move follows a match between AC Milan and Roma on Sunday at which Milan players Mario Balotelli and Kevin Prince Boateng were racially abused by a section of the visiting Roma fans.

It led to the match referee implementing an existing but rarely-used Serie A rule by halting the game for almost two minutes to ask the fans, via a tannoy address, to curtail their behaviour.

Roma condemned the incidents and called them "totally unacceptable" but is likely to face a fine for its fans' behaviour.

Abete said he will propose the introduction of tougher anti-racism measures to replace the much-criticised existing system of fines when Uefa's executive committee congress meets in London on May 24.

In a statement on www.figc.com, Abete called for powers to close "whole sections of grounds" in the event of incidents similar to those at the San Siro.

"Fines don't solve the problem [of racism], because some people don't care whether their club is fined 10 or 20,000 euros. We have to block certain people from the ground," said Abete. "Then, by using tickets with names, we have to stop people going to other parts of the stadium."

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