Chelsea vs Real Madrid: Three key players to look out for

The Hard Tackle lists three players who will play a leading role in swinging the result of the game between Chelsea and Real Madrid on Tuesday.

The UEFA Champions League resumes this week with the second-leg fixtures of the quarter-finals. Tuesday will serve up two marquee fixtures, with the game in the spotlight featuring Chelsea and Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea and Real Madrid ended the group stage atop their respective groups. But neither team had a straightforward path to the knockout stages. But while Los Blancos comfortably beat Liverpool in the Round of 16, the Blues came from a deficit to overcome Borussia Dortmund.

Meanwhile, the two teams have not had a good run in their respective leagues. While Real Madrid will concede the title to Barcelona in La Liga, the West London giants are lagging considerably, even in the race to clinch the UEFA Europa Conference League berth.

The Champions League holders have a two-goal advantage going into the second leg, leaving themselves in a comfortable position. But the job is only half done, and Chelsea can still pip Real Madrid to a spot in the semi-finals. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three players who can influence the game the most on Tuesday.

Mateo Kovacic

Will Kovacic make his mark for Chelsea against Real Madrid? (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Our list begins with a player who has the experience of representing both Chelsea and Real Madrid in his illustrious career. But his best contributions have come in the blue of the West London club. We are, of course, talking about Mateo Kovacic.

The Croat has risen in stature at Stamford Bridge, establishing himself as a pivotal figure for Chelsea. Now one of the leaders at the West London club, Kovacic is worth his weight in gold for the Blues. But he will need to bring everything he has in his locker to outfox his former team.

The 28-year-old is a multi-faceted midfielder who can make a difference in any phase of a game. And that is exactly what he will need to do — run the hard yards off the ball while carrying it deep into the final third to push the Real Madrid defence to make mistakes. And his performance will be under the scanner by suitors like Manchester United and Liverpool.

Interestingly, recent reports have also linked Kovacic with his former club Real Madrid. As for his upcoming performance, one can expect the experienced midfielder to bring his A-Game to give Chelsea every bit the chance to reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Eduardo Camavinga

Moving on to the next candidate on our list, we introduce someone who has reinvented himself this season. While this youngster remains an enigmatic midfielder, he has become an asset for Real Madrid as a left-back. The player in question is Eduardo Camavinga.

The 20-year-old joined Real Madrid over 18 months ago but endured frustrations for much of his stint. With Toni Kroos and Luka Modric still going strong, the opportunities in midfield have been few and far between. But Carlo Ancelotti and Didier Deschamps have unearthed a new side to the Frenchman’s game.

Camavinga has been a revelation as a left-back in the last few months. And Ancelotti has preferred to utilise him in the role in the biggest games of late. So it is hardly surprising that the youngster will start as a left-back against Chelsea on Wednesday. Meanwhile, his performances have alerted Liverpool and Manchester United.

But the French international is well-settled at Real Madrid and does not want a summer move. Meanwhile, he will look to have his defensive hat on this midweek to contain Reece James while helping Vinicius Junior with his clever movement and passes. Expect another brilliant showing by the young utility man.

Joao Felix

Our list ends with a player who is desperate to sort out his future as we near the summer transfer window. He is currently on loan at Chelsea but has not been consistent enough since arriving in January. We are talking about Joao Felix.

The Portuguese international began his Chelsea stint in the most electric manner possible. He was a bundle of energy during his stay on the pitch but saw red for a dangerous challenge. Felix then scored after returning from the suspension. But he has gone ice-cold since then, failing to inspire Chelsea out of the never-ending slump.

In addition, the 23-year-old has a horrible record against Real Madrid. He is yet to win a game versus Los Blancos in seven attempts while failing to score a goal or provide an assist. But if he breaks his duck on Wednesday, Chelsea might be in contention to usurp Real Madrid and clinch a famous comeback win.

Meanwhile, Felix’s long-term future remains uncertain, and he will unlikely want to represent Atletico Madrid next season. So with a few weeks left in the season, he needs to start making an impact, beginning with the game against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

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