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Napoli suffer fresh injury blow on Faouzi Ghoulam

Napoli have been dealt a fresh injury blow on Faouzi Ghoulam after the Algerian suffered a setback on his recovery from a knee problem. The left-sided defender was expected to return from a torn ACL for the Naples outfit this month, but a fractured right patella will keep him on the sidelines for at least four weeks.

"Ghoulam was operated on at Villa Stuart by Professor [Pierpaolo] Mariana due to a transverse fracture of the right patella. The intervention was perfectly successful. Faouzi will start rehabilitation [on Saturday]. He will be evaluated in 15 days and should return to the training pitch in a month," a Napoli statement confirmed.

Despite an injury-hit campaign, Ghoulam has had plenty of positives off the pitch after he was handed a long-term contract in December. The ex-Saint-Etienne man was initially touted to pursue a potential free transfer elsewhere, but Napoli were able to dish out favorite terms to commit his future until the summer of 2022.

Napoli have stayed ahead of reigning champions Juventus for most of the campaign, and they maintained their slender one-point lead this weekend with a 3-1 comeback victory over Lazio where they fell behind in just the third minute of the game.
The Serie A leaders have not been able to lift the Scudetto since the days of Diego Maradona in 1990, but there is a sense of optimism that this could be their year, though they still have a tough away trip to Juventus, which they will have to see off before the end of the season.

Maurizio Sarri's side are also in contention for European glory having dropped to the Europa League for the second half of the season, and they will fancy their chances of going all the way, though they will have to beat RB Leipzig first in the round of 32 of the competition this month.