LONDON, February 24 – Deco has been ruled out of Chelsea's Champions League clash with Juventus at Stamford Bridge.
The Portugese playmaker was missing when Guus Hiddink’s team trained on the eve of the match.
And the Premier League club later revealed the player is suffering from a slight hamstring tear that will keep himsidelined for two to three days.
Deco had appeared as a substitute during Hiddink’s first game in charge at Aston Villa last weekend.
And the Dutch manager is expected to retain the same line-up for the round of 16 first leg against the Serie A side.
That means Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka will continue their partnership up front in a marked shift from the policy of Hiddink’s predecessor Luiz Felipe Scolari who insisted the duo could not play together.
Juventus have been severely weakened by the loss of Cristiano Zanetti with the powerful midfielder most likely to be replaced by former Chelsea player Tiago.
The match marks the first return to Stamford Bridge of Claudio Ranieri who was dismissed as Chelsea manager in 2004.
"I would imagine that they’re still the favourites, but we won’t take that lying down," Ranieri said. "Anything can happen in 180 minutes. Chelsea are a strong team and we have to respect them, but we’re going to have a say as well."