The Real Madrid lineup that should start against Chelsea

Real Madrid head to London this week to face Chelsea in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie, hoping that club captain, talisman and four-time previous winner Sergio Ramos will be fit enough to play after an injury ravaged year so far.

Zinedine Zidane is looking for his fourth Champions League title this season, although the onus is on Real to get on the scoresheet at Stamford Bridge to cancel out Chelsea’s away goal from the first leg in Madrid that finished 1-1 last week.

Here’s a look at the starting XI the manager could pick…

Sergio Ramos could make only his fourth Real appearance of 2021
Sergio Ramos could make only his fourth Real appearance of 2021 | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Thibaut Courtois (GK) – It could have been a hostile reception for the Belgian goalkeeper on his first return to Stamford Bridge had fans been allowed into the stadium.

Alvaro Odriozola (RWB) – Should be a like for like swap for Dani Carvajal, whose injury plagued campaign is now thought to be over after another setback.

Nacho Fernandez (CB) – Has continued to be the dependable utility man at the back again this season and is likely to keep his place in the back three in Raphael Varane’s absence.

Sergio Ramos (CB) – Thought to be fit after overcoming his injury problems and could play only his fourth game of the calendar year in all competition. Proven to be the ultimate clutch player.

Eder Militao (CB) – The Brazilian has finally had a consistent run of chances in recent weeks, which has seen him start every La Liga game since the start of April.

Ferland Mendy (LWB) – Passed fit to return after missing the first leg and the last four La Liga games with a calf problem and will replace the ageing Marcelo on the left.

Luka Modric, Toni Kroos
Zidane rested Luka Modric & Toni Kroos in preparation for this game | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Toni Kroos (CM) – Rested for the weekend game against Osasuna to prepare for this one. He will be keen to have more control of the midfield than Chelsea allowed him last time.

Luka Modric (CM) – The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner was also rested from the midfield, with home-grown Antonio Blanco given a chance in that one.

Casemiro (CM) – Although established as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, he has added more goals to his game this season and is Real’s second top scorer in La Liga and across all competitions.

Karim Benzema scored his 28th goal of the season in the first leg
Karim Benzema scored his 28th goal of the season in the first leg | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Karim Benzema (FW) – The veteran striker’s goals have carried Real this season. His strike against Chelsea in the first leg was his 28th of the season in all competitions and Los Blancos simply wouldn’t be in with a chance of a La Liga and Champions League double without him.

Vinicius Junior (FW) – Still only 20, this is already his best season in front of goal since joining Real in 2018 and he showed he can make a difference at this level when he scored twice against Liverpool.

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