A goalless draw was enough to see Real Madrid ease past Liverpool into the semi-finals of the Champions League, where they will face Chelsea. Thomas Tuchel’s progressed to the last four after beating Porto 2-1 on aggregate over the two legs. The tie will be the first time the two have faced each other in the Champions League and promises to be an enthralling affair. The game could also mark a return to Stamford Bridge for Eden Hazard.
The Belgian traded London for Madrid in 2019. Hazard was Chelsea’s talisman for years, scoring 110 goals for the Blues in seven seasons. Although Hazard has since found form and fitness hard to come by for Los Blancos, he will be hoping to be available for both legs set to be played on April 27 and May 5.
Eden Hazard Set for Stamford Bridge Return
Eden Hazard: A Chelsea Legend
Hazard broke Chelsea hearts when he revealed he would be leaving the club in 2019. This was after a 4-1 victory over Arsenal in the Europa League final, a game which Hazard was man of the match after scoring twice. It was this farewell that cemented himself as a Chelsea legend and was a performance that summed up his excellent Chelsea career.
Eden Hazard won almost everything with Chelsea and was widely considered one of the best players in the world during his time with the Blues. He had a great relationship with the fans, his teammates and staff alike. It is a great shame then that the fans that adored Hazard for so long will be unable to see his return. Some good news, however, is that UEFA have confirmed that both legs will not have to be played at a neutral venue.
A Race for Fitness
A fully fit Eden Hazard would no doubt be included in Madrid’s team. However, as has been the case so often of late, Hazard faces a race to be fit for the games. He is only now returning from yet another injury. The winger’s campaign has been plagued with injury all season, meaning he has only been able to make 14 appearances.
Hazard’s fitness has held the Belgian back. We have yet to see anything close to what he is capable of, but Hazard will be hoping that he will get the chance to play against his former employers.
A Tie to Savour
Irrespective of whether Hazard plays or not, the tie promises so much more. It is bizarre that two teams that have been as prominent in the Champions League as Real Madrid and Chelsea over the years are yet to face each other. However, that is now is now to end as they prepare to face off.
It promises to be a great tie. Chelsea have been excellent since Thomas Tuchel has taken over. After much debate, the German is finally starting to settle on his strongest starting eleven. There is a great mix of experience and youth in the squad. Players such as Thiago Silva, N’golo Kante, and Cesar Azpilicueta are experienced professionals, whereas the likes of Mason Mount, Reece James and Kai Havertz are new to this level of football.
Tuchel has Chelsea playing a pragmatic style of play, well suited to the demands of the Champions League. The Blues will go into the tie believing they have a great chance to reach their first final since 2012.
On the other hand, Real Madrid will also be filled with confidence. Not many gave them a chance to beat Liverpool, especially with their long list of injures. They were without Hazard, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal, to name a few. However, their squad is filled with so many experienced players they were able to lean on their veterans to guide them through. Most notably it was the midfield three of Luka Modric, Toni Kross and Casemiro that allowed Madrid to dominate the way they did. If the three can combine again, Madrid will fancy themselves against Chelsea.