Real Madrid-Chelsea: two rebels for the Champions League

Zidane, in the Champions League quarter-turn against Liverpool.

On the remains of the young corpse of the Super League, Real Madrid and Chelsea, two of its founders, are cited in the old woman Champions, the model they wanted to overthrow. They are the semifinals of the great European title, the holy grail of the whites, but in the last week politics prevailed on the game. There was more talk from the offices than on the pitch, and the changing rooms were not unrelated to this in the previous Valdebebas duel (21.00, Movistar Champions League). “It is absurd to think that we can not be next year,” said Zinedine Zidane about a hypothetical sanction in an attempt to escape the monotem. “If we are in what is said, it will harm us and we mess it up,” warned the Frenchman before the clash on Tuesday. Your colleague blueThomas Tuchel was less hesitant to comment on the future format of the UEFA tournament: “I just watch more games, I’m not excited.”

At the moment, the immediate thing is the search for a final for which neither team rang at the beginning of the course. The locals felt far from the elite after their costalazos in the previous two seasons (eliminated in the last 16), an idea that became more acute after their hasty qualification in the group stage. Londoners, meanwhile, despite being the ones who invested the most in the pandemic last summer on the continent (247 million in Havertz, Werner or Ziyech), started the season so crooked that in January they threw one of their icons, Frank Lampard, from the bench , and they brought Tuchel, recently fired from PSG. Luckily for both of them, the end of winter and spring suited them well.

Beyond nuances, Madrid and Chelsea share a non-negotiable virtue in their aspirations: defend well. With the German in front, the English have progressed by leaving a clean sheet in 15 of the 20 games. Atlético suffered well in the second round. The whites, for their part, were only able to correct themselves when they recovered the bolt from the post-confinement to alleviate their vaunted offensive difficulties. His last four commitments portray his year: without conceding a goal, but scoring only one of them, when Benzema was present in Cádiz.

If this type of crossing is decided in favor of the one who makes the fewest mistakes, the characteristics of the two squads invite us to think especially about a duel like this, played in the gorge rather than in the open field. In this landscape, Madrid uses its experience (nine semifinals of the last 11) to emerge victorious from the trance. Fatigue and injuries plague the whites, who already announced after defeating Barcelona two weeks ago that they were at the physical limit, but, at this point, there is no dressing room in Europe with so much knowledge to operate in these oppressive scenarios . It is his great weapon. More than half eleven current types were present in the three Champions in a row (Ronaldo on the sidelines, of course).

From Liverpool and with the deposit in reserve, the life of Madrid has been a wait until Chelsea, awaiting injured and dosing what there was, aware that he was not going to be able to cover everything with them. Ramos, Mendy, Valverde and Lucas Vázquez did not arrive on time. Yes Kroos and Hazard, who after two years of misery in Spain will once again face the club with which he was happy. Tactically, the big question is whether the coach will have a defense of four or with three centrals, whether or not Marcelo will.

Real Madrid-Chelsea does not extinguish the political buzz, but, at least, virgin football regains its central place in the Di Stéfano between two teams that have never met in the Champions League. In the last half century, they only saw each other in the final of the Recopa in 1971 and in the European Super Cup in 1998. Both for the blue.

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