UEFA Champions League Semi-finals Team Preview – Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane's side destroyed Liverpool in quarter-finals (3-1 on aggregate) and will now aim to eliminate another Premier League club in semis.

Rohan Gulaty Author

Updated - 23 April 2021 1:56 am

Real Madrid are undoubtedly one of the most successful clubs in history of UEFA Champions League. However, the sheer dominance of Los Blancos in Europe seemed to have suffer a dramatic downslide since 2002. After winning no title for 12 years, the club bounced back in style after winning the UCL 2014 and never looked back since. Real Madrid created history by winning three consecutive titles from 2016 to 2018 to stamp their authority in Europe once again.

Just like every time, when the club looked like going down, they have responded with another fantastic season in UCL. Real Madrid thumped Atalanta in Round of 16 before emphatically knocking out 2019 champions Liverpool 3-1 on aggregate. They now face another top Premier League side - Chelsea in the semis. With Bayern Munich out of the tournament, Zinedine Zidane's side will definitely fancy their chances to win their 14th title this year.

Players to watch out for

Vinicius Junior has emerged as one of the most exciting players for Real Madrid this season. The winger has 6 goals and 7 assists to his name in 41 appearances (across all competitions) this season. He single-handedly destroyed Liverpool's defense in the first leg of quarter-finals and scored two brilliant goals. The 20-year-old is going to be a big threat down the flanks against Chelsea.

Another player to watch out for will be Real Madrid's midfield spearhead Toni Kroos. The whole game of the club revolves around the German magician and he is the one who creates goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates. Having scored a brilliant goal against Barcelona, the 31-year-old is riding high on confidence and will leave no stones unturned to take his team through to another UCL final.

Recent form

Zinedine Zidane's side started the season slowly but have found their rhythm in the business end of the season. They have 4 wins and 1 draw in their last five league games, which includes an emphatic 2-1 victory against arch-rivals Barcelona. Despite the absence of Sergio Ramos, the defense is looking solid and have kept clean sheets in last three matches across all competitions (including a heroic performance against Liverpool in 2nd leg). Upfront, Karim Benzema is in top form, having recently scored two goals against Cadiz.

How can Real Madrid beat Tuchel's high-flying Chelsea?

Chelsea are certainly playing some impressive football under new manager Thomas Tuchel and they won't be an easy opponent for Real Madrid. However, Zinedine Zidane has often proved that he knows how to get results and he will definitely have a full-fledged plan for the Blues.

Looking at the possible strategy, Los Blancos certainly have an edge over their opponents in terms of quality in set pieces. Chelsea have struggled in dealing with incoming balls in air inside the box and with players like Karim Benzema, Nacho and Eder Militao at the end of Toni Kroos' crosses, it could be their best chance to score.

Other than that, Real Madrid are one of the strongest sides down the left wing with extremely fast players like Vinicius Junior and Ferland Mendy on that flank. With Casemiro shielding the defense, Luka Modric will also have some space to put some through-balls over the Chelsea defense where the Madrid players can outpace their opponents.

Real Madrid will start as favorites in this epic contest and it is certainly going to be a great battle between two absolute masters of tactics, Zinedine Zidane and Thomas Tuchel. All the questions will be answered over the two legs of semi-finals, with the first one set to be played on April 28 (IST 12:30 AM).