Chelsea lock horns with Real Madrid in the second-leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.
The tie is evenly balanced at 1-1 after the first-leg at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium last Tuesday, meaning it is all to play for in west London, despite Christian Pulisic netting what could prove to be a massive away goal in the tie for Thomas Tuchel’s side.
Pulisic handed Chelsea an early lead with a cool and composed finished, before Karim Benzema brought Madrid level with a brilliant goal of his own, ensuring that the first-leg of this highly anticipated last-four showdown ended level pegging.
However, as many Champions League ties have proven down the years, nothing can be settled once and for all until the second-leg reaches its conclusion, with the competition renowned for its drama and producing the unexpected.
Ahead of the contest, Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has been dealt a massive double injury blow, losing both right-back Dani Carvajal and centre-back Raphael Varane.
The duo both started last Tuesday evening’s first-leg, meaning their absences will be felt at Stamford Bridge.
But whilst the Frenchman has suffered the damaging blow of losing two of his most important defenders, he has been boosted by the returns of Sergio Ramos and Ferland Mendy. The pair, who both missed the first-leg, have returned to training ahead of the clash in west London and have been included in the travelling squad.
Although neither of them have had any recent game-time to bolster their respective fitness levels, you would argue that Ramos is the more likely of the pair to start, especially that Zidane is a centre-back light with Varane missing.
Considering that Zidane has admitted that Ramos is ready and available for selection, it seems likely that he will start at Stamford Bridge.
Addressing the media on Tuesday evening, Zidane said: “I’m not taking a risk. He is here with us so that means he is ready to play. That’s it.”
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Although Zidane has not confirmed or denied whether or not the experienced Spaniard will start, it is almost certain that he will call upon the club captain to step in and lead by example at the back in a game of such magnitude.
Ramos has missed Madrid’s last ten matches through a mixture of coronavirus and a muscle injury.
But despite that, he is almost certain to be reinstated to the starting line-up for a fixture with so much riding on it.