For Premier League aficionados, international breaks have long been a source of irritation. Concerns about star players getting injured and worries over how much truth there is in the many transfer rumours that bubble up dominate supporter discussions, particularly among fans of those clubs challenging for silverware.
In the past week, Chelsea followers have seen key striker Diego Costa and in-form goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois suffer injury scares while star player Eden Hazard has become the subject of intense transfer speculation.
Costa developed a foot and ankle problem while training with the Spain international team on Sunday -- fortunately X-rays showed no serious damage -- while Courtois developed a hip problem while playing for Belgium against Greece, and the keeper is now undergoing treatment at Chelsea's Cobham training facility.
Courtois' countryman Hazard was withdrawn from the Belgium squad as a precaution by the London club's medical staff as the 26-year old is still recuperating from the calf complaint that kept him out of his side's recent win at Stoke City.
While it's true that Chelsea managed to defeat a physical Stoke team without the services of Hazard, the fact is that shorn of the skills of their playmaker-in-chief, Antonio Conte's side laboured and it took a late goal from defender Gary Cahill to seal victory.
This is Hazard's fifth season as a Chelsea player. Since signing from Ligue 1 side Lille for £32 million in June 2012, his stock has risen markedly, and Real Madrid were this week reported to be in "negotiations" to take him to the Bernabeu this summer.
To date in his Chelsea career, Hazard has made 237 appearances, scoring 66 goals and providing 50 assists. Accolades have come in the form of PFA Young Player of the Year (2014), PFA Player of the Year (2015), Chelsea Player of the Year 2014 and 2015, and this season he looks set to add to a collection of winners' medals that already includes Premier League, League Cup and Europa League gongs.
Yes, 2015-16 was a campaign to forget for the Belgian, but that was the case for many of his teammates and Chelsea as a whole. Under Conte, the world has moved on. Hazard may have cut a dispirited figure last season, and was linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, but Conte has brought him back to his best.
He has contributed 11 goals and five assists and fully embraced Conte's do-or-die philosophy, winning back the support of those Chelsea fans whose patience had worn thin last season. For the few who were still wavering over his commitment and value to the cause, his incredible solo goal against Arsenal in February should have dispelled the doubts.
Among the millions applauding Hazard's genius would have been Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, who has long expressed his admiration for Hazard and now reportedly wants to make him a Galactico.
However, unless Conte has devised a strange plan for the team next season that doesn't include the Belgian, it seems there is zero chance of the deal happening. Madrid president Florentino Perez testing Chelsea's resolve with a world-record bid for Hazard would be futile.
Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich doesn't need the money. While many players have left in big-money deals during Abramovich's ownership -- among them Oscar (£52 million to Shanghai SIPG), David Luiz (£50 million to PSG) and Juan Mata (£37 million to Manchester United) -- those deals have all gone through with the blessing of their manager.
The likelihood is that Abramovich will rebuff any offers but find himself signing off a significant pay rise for the player, whose £200,000-a-week deal, which expires in 2020, already makes him the club's best-paid player.
That's the way football works, and Barcelona's Lionel Messi is the best point of comparison. It's true that, at 29 years old, Messi's time at the Camp Nou could be coming to an end, but Barca have resisted the temptation to cash in and kept him throughout the best period of his career.
Right now, Hazard is at the peak of his powers. With Conte at the helm, Chelsea are one of the best clubs for a world-class player to continue to develop and win silverware. Coupled with this, an imminent return to the Champions League stage and a World Cup to look forward to it makes the upheaval and pressure that would come with a move to Madrid nonsensical for Hazard, whose wife and young family are settled in England.