Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta has broken his silence after being transferred to hospital after the sickening injury he suffered against Southampton.
The Spanish defender was taken off on a stretcher and received oxygen after sustaining a kick to the head by Southampton star Sekou Mara.
Despite the worrying scenes, he still gave a promising sign to fans at Stamford Bridge as he applauded the crowd as he was taken off the pitch in the defeat.
Graham Potter confirmed the 33-year-old had immediately been transferred to hospital for checks. Over 24 hours after the incident, he remains there but has reassured fans by thanking the medical staff for their swift attention, as well as supporters for their messages of support.
Taking to Twitter alongside a picture of himself smiling, Azpilicueta wrote: “Hi everyone! Thank you all for your love and messages of support! My family and I would like to thank everyone who has been looking after me since yesterday’s incident.
“From the @ChelseaFC medical team to teammates and opponents, to St Mary’s and Cleveland Hospital and all staff members and doctors: a massive thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now, time to recover and I will see you soon on the pitch!”
It is suggested that Azpilicueta has managed to avoid serious damage. According to the Evening Standard, scans have revealed that the player has not sustained any broken bones and will now go through the concussion procedures before a return to action.
According to the FA’s rules around head injuries & concussion, Azpilicueta would not be allowed to return to action for at least six days after an injury should he have suffered from a concussion.
That would put a serious question mark over his participation against London rivals Tottenham next week.
Speaking after the full-time whistle at Stamford Bridge, Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse: “I think more importantly we want to send out best wishes to Cesar Azpilicueta. I think in that moment football becomes irrelevant and it’s all about his health.
“Swkou, unfortunately, went for the sublime and unfortunately caught him in a bad way. Football is irrelevant in that moment and we hope he has a speedy recovery.”