Real Madrid v Chelsea – Combined XI

Real Madrid take on Chelsea in the Champions League this evening, as the last two winners of the competition go head-to-head in the quarter-finals.

The Spanish giants are targeting back-to-back successes in Europe and will start as favourites, though Chelsea boast an impressive record against Real Madrid in continental competition.

Ahead of their first leg meeting, we’ve selected our Real Madrid and Chelsea combined XI.

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois – Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois is one of a number of former Chelsea names set to face their old side this week, with Antonio Rudiger, Eden Hazard and manager Carlo Ancelotti part of the ex-Chelsea contingent.

Courtois won two Premier League titles in west London before underlining his status as one of the world’s best goalkeepers at Real Madrid, where he was imperious during the club’s run to La Liga and Champions League success last season.

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The Belgium international made a nine saves during a man-of-the-match performance in the latter final win over Liverpool, a record in a Champions League decider since the data was first collected in 2003/04.

Right-back: Reece James – Chelsea

Reece James could prove a pivotal figure in this tie as the Chelsea right-back deals with the threat of Vinicius Junior.

James has previously declared the Real Madrid winger as his toughest opponent, but the England defender has all the attributes to come out on top in their duel.

The 23-year-old is powerful and quick across the ground, while his technical talents have made James one of the most effective wing-back options in Europe. Last season he provided 14 goal involvements in the Premier League alone, averaging a goal or assist every 133 minutes.

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Centre-back: Eder Militao – Real Madrid

Eder Militao has grown in stature at Real Madrid across the past two seasons with the Brazilian having become a fixture at centre-back following the exits of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

Militao excelled as Real Madrid won the Champions League last season and has improved once again during the current campaign, having made 39 appearances in all competitions.

Athletic and assured in possession, he has developed a welcome habit of providing threat from set-pieces and has six goals in all competitions this season, including a bullet header in the Spaniard’s last-16 win at Liverpool.

Centre-back: Thiago Silva – Chelsea

Thiago Silva is fit to return this evening, a huge boost to Chelsea’s chances of a positive result at the Bernabeu.

Silva might be in the winter of his career at 38, but the Brazilian remains at the top of the game and a crucial presence in this Chelsea side. A natural leader, Silva’s role can not be understated with his experience and organisation of the backline.

In games of this magnitude, the calming presence of the veteran could be decisive, while he retains more than enough athleticism to dominate duels in the air and on the ground.

Left-back: David Alaba – Real Madrid

Alaba has been an inspired signing for Real Madrid after arriving on a free transfer from Bayern Munich ahead of last season.

A world-class talent in multiple positions, Alaba is often the man for all occasions and equally comfortable at centre-back or on the left-side of the defence.

The Austria international won a La Liga and Champions League double during his debut season at Real Madrid, adding to an extensive collection of major honours that already included TEN Bundesliga titles, six German Cups and two Champions League trophies at Bayern.

A wonderfully talented footballer.

Midfield: N’Golo Kante – Chelsea

N’Golo Kante’s return for Chelsea will give the west Londoners belief in this tie, with the midfielder so often the inspiration behind the club’s greatest successes at home and in Europe.

Indefatigable, tenacious and more technically accomplished than he is often given credit for, Kante was the outstanding footballer as Chelsea won the Champions League in 2021. His all-action performances saw Kante named as man of the match in four consecutive knockout stage matches, including both legs of the semi-final win over Real Madrid.

Chelsea will need the Frenchman at his best at the Bernabeu as Chelsea look to combat the Spaniard’s star-studded midfield.

Midfield: Luka Modric  – Real Madrid

Our midfield three contains three names who will be remembered among the best of their generation, with the evergreen Luka Modric continuing to pull the strings in the Spanish capital.

The Ballon d’Or winner has shown few signs of slowing down despite approaching his 38th birthday, with the Croatian still as creative as ever. Modric had a major role in Real Madrid’s success in this competition last season, with some outstanding individual moments including an audacious outside-of-the-boot assist in the quarter-final win over Chelsea.

Chelsea an ill-afford to give Modric room to dictate in this tie, or Frank Lampard’s side will be punished.

Midfield: Toni Kroos – Real Madrid

Alongside Modric for much of the last decade has been Toni Kroos, two footballers capable of controlling and deciding games at the top level.

Kroos conducts the Spanish side from a role at the base of the midfield, with his unerring accuracy of pass and a range of distance. The German has won three league titles and four Champions League trophies during a glittering career at the Bernabeu, one which has seen Kroos make 404 appearances for Los Blancos.

Right-wing: Fede Valverde – Real Madrid

Fede Valverde has taken his game to new heights this season with the midfielder responding to Carlo Ancelotti’s challenge to produce more.

The Uruguayan has long been a fan favourite for his endless energy and tenacity, with Valverde often the driving force for Real Madrid as he bursts forward in and out of possession. This season the 24-year-old has shown his ability when in the final third, with 12 goals in all competitions – double the amount he managed across the past four seasons combined.

Valverde finds himself at the centre of headlines in Spanish football at present however, after he allegedly punched Villarreal’s Alex Baena in the face in the car park after Real Madrid’s 3-2 defeat on April 8.

Left-wing: Vinicius Junior – Real Madrid

Carlo Ancelotti hailed Vinicius Jr as ‘the most decisive player in world football‘ after the Brazilian starred during Real Madrid’s destruction of Liverpool in the last 16. Vinicius scored twice in the 5-2 win at Anfield, with the 22-year-old having evolved into one of world football’s elite talents.

Last season proved a breakthrough for Vinicius who recorded 42 goals and assists in all competitions, while the winger is on track to beat that total this time around and has nine goal contributions in eight Champions League fixtures to date.

Vinicius gave Trent Alexander-Arnold a torrid time in the previous round, though the Liverpool right-back is unlikely to be the last to struggle against the South American star, whose sharp feet, low centre of gravity and explosive pace are a nightmare for opposition defenders.

Forward: Karim Benzema – Real Madrid

Karim Benzema leads the line in our combined side, with the forward recognised as the world’s best with Ballon d’Or success in 2022.

Benzema won the game’s greatest individual honour after a season that saw him score 44 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid, a return which included a Champions League hat-trick against Chelsea.

The Frenchman has produced the finest football of his career in recent seasons and appears to have found his form at the perfect time. Benzema has already scored two hat-tricks in April and netted in both legs of the Champions League last-16 win over Liverpool.

Read – Iconic Duos: Chelsea’s impregnable pairing made of steel and silk, Terry and Carvalho

Read Also – 90s Hitmen: Raul – Real Madrid and Champions League royalty

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