New Ghoulam injury blow for Napoli

Injury cursed: Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam has suffered a fractured kneecap

Algerian international defender Faouzi Ghoulam has suffered another injury setback ahead of his anticipated return for Serie A leaders Napoli, fracturing his kneecap in training on Friday, the Italian club said.

Napoli, who host Lazio in Serie A on Saturday, said in a statement that Ghoulam "injured his right knee during the team's training session" on Friday, and a fractured patella was suspected.

"Ghoulam will be visited today by Professor Mariani at Villa Stuart (Sport Clinic in Rome)," the statement added.

It is the second injury for the 27-year-old this season after he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament rupture playing in the Champions League group-stage against Manchester City last November.

The France-born player was operated on by Professor Pier Paolo Mariani in November and was out of action for two months, only rejoining to team training just over a week ago.

It had been hoped that Ghoulam would make his eagerly-anticipated return when Napoli host Lazio on Saturday night.

Napoli are just one point ahead of Juventus with the six-time defending champions, who travel to Fiorentina on Friday night, looking to pull ahead.

Despite his injury Ghoulam recently signed a contract extension with Napoli.