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How Real Madrid could line up against Chelsea | UEFA Champions League 2020/21

Real Madrid v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg One
Real Madrid v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg One
Sai Teja
ANALYST
Modified 05 May 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

Real Madrid are just 24 hours away from kicking off the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The two sides played out an entertaining game at the Alfredo Di Stefano last week, which saw Chelsea leave the capital with a crucial away goal after Christian Pulisic carved open the Blancos' defence in the opening 15 minutes. However, the goal was canceled after a moment of brilliance from Karim Benzema, who dispatched a sublime volley from close range.

Chelsea are now set to host an injury-ravaged Real Madrid side in West London and head into the fixture in fine form. Thomas Tuchel's side won their most recent Premier League fixture by a scoreline of 2-0 against Fulham thanks to a Kai Havertz brace.

Zinedine Zidane's men also won their previous game by the same scoreline against Osasuna, and managed to afford some of their key players some much-needed rest ahead of the fixture, including the likes of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. The Blancos are without Raphael Varane for the game, but will be boosted by the potential returns of Sergio Ramos and Ferland Mendy.

Ahead of the game, here, we take a look at how Real Madrid could potentially line up for the semi-final against Real Madrid.


Real Madrid Predicted XI


Goalkeeper

Liverpool FC v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Leg Two
Liverpool FC v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Leg Two

Former Chelsea star Thibaut Courtois' return to Stamford Bridge is one of the biggest talking points ahead of the explosive encounter at Stamford Bridge. The Belgian is set to return to West London for the first time since leaving the club three years ago and is Zidane's undisputed first choice to start in goal for Real Madrid.

After a rocky start to life at the club, Courtois has grown into arguably one of the best goalkeepers in world football and boasts a higher save percentage (82.2) than any keeper in Europe. He made a clutch save to deny Timo Werner in the first leg as well.


Defence

Real Madrid v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg One
Real Madrid v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg One

Most of Real Madrid's injury issues in the build-up to this game are in defence, with the major absentee being Raphael Varane. The French star, who recently recovered from COVID-19, had to be subbed off against Osasuna due to an injury that will see him sidelined for up to ten days.

This could see Eder Militao continue his stellar run in the first XI. The Brazilian has enjoyed a fine run at the heart of Real Madrid's defence in the absence of Varane and skipper Sergio Ramos and is likely to start against Chelsea. The biggest question is regarding the player who partners Militao in defence.

While Nacho Fernandez, much like Militao, has been in superb form for Los Blancos, the situation could be complicated by the return of Sergio Ramos. Real Madrid's majestic skipper was out injured and began training with the side ahead of the game and has traveled with the squad to London.

Should the 34-year-old be fit to start, or if Zidane is willing to risk his star man, his place in the XI is nearly guaranteed. Given that it's the biggest game of the season, Ramos is likely to start the game.

Ferland Mendy and Fede Valverde have also returned to the squad ahead of their trip to London and could be set for starts on either side of the defence. Nacho deputized for Mendy in the reverse fixture, but the French star could be in line for a start at Stamford Bridge.

Valverde could also be fit to start after returning a negative test result for COVID-19. The Uruguayan is likely to deputise for the injured Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez at right-back after already starting in this role against Liverpool at Anfield.


Also read: Top 5 left-footed centre-backs in world football

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Published 05 May 2021
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