It’s finally happening. Chelsea and Real Madrid are set to square off in the first of two Champions League semifinal matches on Tuesday. These clubs represent two of Europe’s most successful since the turn of the millennium and despite this, they have not met in the Champions League’s history. It’s been almost 23 years since the two sides clashed in a competitive competition, so to say this UCL contest is highly anticipated would be an understatement.
The 2020/21 season has come with many surprises. While neither of these two teams are going to be favorited against the winner of Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain in the UCL Final, they should both be incredibly proud of the journey they’ve been on thus far. Real Madrid was facing the grim prospect of elimination during the group stage for the first time in recent memory. Zinedine Zidane’s experienced side has taken the tournament step-by-step and now finds itself 180 minutes away from another title game after the early season slip ups. On the other side of things, the relatively inexperienced Blues have been on their own rollercoaster ride. Chelsea sacked Frank Lampard ahead of the Round of 16 tie with Atletico Madrid. Thomas Tuchel—who is no stranger to UCL success—has come in and turned the season around.
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Nevertheless, the talk of the town won’t be centered around the competitive history or form of the Blues and Los Blancos. It’s all about the connections.
The most obvious link between the two European giants is winger Eden Hazard. The Belgian is royalty around Stamford Bridge, but he’s enjoyed little success after making his dream move to the Bernabeu. Hazard has dealt with a host of injuries throughout his time in Spain. However, he is fit to play against the Blues after returning to the pitch a few days ago. Hazard will likely start the contest on the bench, but he’ll just be thrilled to see some familiar faces on the other side and get some pre-match hugs. Hazard’s compatriot—Thibaut Courtois—is also a name Chelsea supporters know well. He most notably started in goal for Antonio Conte’s 2016/17 Premier League winning side and spent a couple of years at Stamford Bridge. The Belgian No. 1 between the sticks is undoubtedly a more controversial figure in the minds of Chelsea fans due to a messy exit.
Chelsea isn’t the only team who will see some familiar faces on the opposing bench though. Mateo Kovacic and Marcos Alonso will compete against some of their former peers during the two-legged tie. This is assuming that Kovacic is fit for the second leg and Alonso ever gets onto the pitch. Edouard Mendy will also square off against his cousin, should he be fit in the second leg. Much like Kovacic, Ferland Mendy suffered an injury during the last round of the Champions League and still has yet to recover.
Where can you view the live stream of Real Madrid vs Chelsea in the Champions League semifinal?
Date: Tuesday, April 27
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET (8:00 p.m. GMT)
Location: Madrid, Spain
Venue: Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano
Referee: Danny Makkelie
TV Info: Paramount+ (USA), BT Sport (UK)
Live Stream: Paramount+ (USA)
On top of all of these other storylines, we also have the footballing world versus Florentino Perez. Perez is widely seen as the villain that orchestrated The Super League and has been critical of Chelsea in recent weeks. Blues supporters would like nothing else than to see their side destroy Perez’s beloved Real Madrid and bounce them from the competition en route to the final. That’ll ultimately prove difficult though in this match of maturity versus inexperience.NEXT: Real Madrid vs Chelsea: Three things to look for in UCL semifinal