Goalgist 9

Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen pulled himself out of contention for Saturday’s agonising FA Cup final defeat against Liverpool just hours before kick-off.

The Denmark international – who will join Barcelona at the end of the season – was not injured but told head coach Thomas Tuchel on the morning of the game he did not want to be considered for the Wembley showdown because he did not feel ready to play.

It is likely that Christensen would have started the game ahead of Trevoh Chalobah if he was available for selection and his decision to withdraw from the squad to face Jurgen Klopp’s side arrived as a major blow to Chelsea’s plans.

His unexpected withdrawal and departure from the team hotel on Saturday morning is understood to have left his team-mates perplexed and shocked.

Sources close to Christensen have indicated that the defender felt unwell in the days prior to the final, something that the Blues star relayed to his head coach before deciding on the morning of the game that he wasn’t physically ready to play.

Christensen played the entire 90 minutes of last Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Leeds.

Last month, Christensen pulled himself out of the starting XI in the moments leading up to the 1-0 win over West Ham after suffering stomach cramps ahead of kick-off.

In the 4-2 loss to Arsenal, also last month, the centre-back asked to be taken off at half-time – Tuchel confirming Christensen had made the request after the game.

Similarly, former Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri said of the Dane in 2019: “You know very well that Christensen on matchdays always has stomach ache.

“I don’t know the reason but he is always very nervous. I don’t know what to say.”

Christensen has agreed a five-year deal to join Barcelona on a free transfer ahead of next season after rejecting Chelsea’s attempts to renegotiate an extension.

And following the loss to Liverpool, Tuchel admitted for the first time that Christensen is leaving at the end of the season.

By Amara

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