Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be set to make his Chelsea debut on Tuesday as the Blues kick off their Champions League campaign against Dinamo Zagreb, but he will be forced to wear a mask if he features.
The Gabonese striker has flown out to Croatia for Chelsea's first European clash of the season, after making the move from Barcelona on Deadline Day. Aubameyang only spent a few months in Barcelona after leaving Arsenal in January, but his time there ended in traumatic circumstances.
The striker was reportedly been beaten by a gang of thugs after they broke into his home and tried to rob him, hours after Barcelona beat Real Valladolid on August 28. Aubameyang has been forced to wear a mask due to the injuries sustained, and he's already been spotted wearing it in training.
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Aubameyang was seen in training wearing a black, full-face mask which was made by a company in Milan at short notice over the weekend. The striker is no stranger to wearing a mask, as he's become well known for celebrating with a collection of face coverings during his time at Saint Etienne, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal.
However, this is not a mask that the 33-year-old will be wearing voluntarily, but Thomas Tuchel is ready to unleash his new signing and has urged Aubameyang to 'prove a point'. "He has taken care with his recovery, we have been able to bring everybody to do our last training here in Zagreb," Tuchel said on Monday.
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"He has had a test with the mask, trained normally and so if everything goes well he will be available. He is very ambitious, very focused and hungry to play for us and to prove a point. That is what we felt from the first moment and he is happily invited to prove a point tomorrow."
Chelsea splashed out £12million on Aubameyang just months after Arsenal let the striker go for free, and he's back in London much quicker than expected. But with Barcelona signing Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea losing Romelu Lukaku, the deal made sense for all parties.
Tuchel is also extremely fond of the star, and the pair worked together during a stint at Dortmund. Tuchel was Jurgen Klopp's successor in 2015, and Aubameyang left shortly after the German's controversial departure in May 2017.
But they are now reunited once more, and with Kai Havertz struggling in a lone attacking role, Aubameyang will provide much needed support to the Chelsea front line. Raheem Sterling has been Chelsea's standout signing so far, but the former Manchester City star needs support.
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