Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech will miss the start of the new Premier League season next month after tearing a calf muscle during pre-season training.
The Czech Republic international pulled up at the club's Cobham HQ on Tuesday and scans have revealed a muscle tear which will keep him sidelined for four weeks.
Chelsea begin the defence of their Premier League title at home to newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion on August 14.
He will definitely miss that game and also the previous weekend's Community Shield meeting with online betting underdogs Manchester United at Wembley.
Meanwhile, Joe Cole has passed his medical and put pen to paper on a four-year contract at Liverpool.
The England international agreed to join the Reds on a free transfer from Chelsea earlier in the week and has now completed the formalities on his move to Merseyside.
The 28-year-old midfielder passed a medical at the club's pre-season training camp in Austria to bring to an end a lengthy transfer pursuit for new manager Roy Hodgson.
Sir Alex Ferguson claims England will continue to under-perform in major tournaments as long as the Premier League refuses to have a winter break.
The Manchester United boss claims that England travelled to the recent World Cup in South Africa 'handicapped' by the players being fatigued from a relentless domestic season.
England crashed out at the last 16 stage following a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Germany and the finger of blame has been pointed at everyone from head coach Fabio Capello to a generation of under-performing players.
However, Ferguson believes the major issue is a more obvious one to do with player fatigue.
"The FA has to give the country the best possible chance of doing well in the World Cup," he said.
"Because of the nature of our game and because of the demands from television to have a programme every week, I have been talking about a winter break but nothing has happened.
"They must realise that, going into the World Cup, they have handicapped their team."
In cricket, Lancashire and former England Test hero Andrew Flintoff is just weeks away from making his long-awaited comeback.
The all-rounder played through the pain barrier during last summer's Ashes success over Australia, but he hasn't featured in any form of the game since after undergoing two knee operations.
However, the 32-year-old has now admitted he is closing in on a return.
"It's been a long road with the rehab since then but I'm hoping to play again in the next few weeks," he confirmed.