Draw: Real Madrid-Chelsea in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, the third game in a row between the two | Sports
Another Real Madrid-Chelsea in the final rounds of the Champions League. The two clubs went 22 years without meeting and, in the last three seasons, three clashes. The English team defeated him in the 2021 semifinals and the Spaniard operated another of his classic miracles in the quarterfinals of the last edition at the Bernabéu. This time, however, the whites will play the quarterfinal round at Stamford Bridge. For the first time after four consecutive qualifiers, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will not have the Chamartín factor in their favor in the outcome. The first leg will be held on April 11 or 12 (yet to be determined) and the return, on April 18 or 19.
Madrid was located in the most complicated part of the draw, since the winner of this clash will face the winner of the great duel of this phase, Manchester City-Bayern Munich. In those hypothetical semifinals (May 9 and 10, and May 16 and 17), Madrid would not play the second leg at home either. The other two quarterfinal matches are Benfica-Inter and Milan-Naples. The final will take place on June 10 in Istanbul.
Chelsea, now without the direction of Russian magnate Roman Abramóvich, has carried out this campaign an investment in transfers like no other in world football can remember. More than 600 million euros, half of them in the winter market. He caught the Argentine Enzo Fernández three months ago for 120 million in the heat of his great World Cup; the emerging Mykhaylo Mudryk (70 plus 30 in variables), pearl of the resistant Shakhtar; he managed the loan of João Félix (11), who marked distances with Simeone; he disbursed 80 for the center-back Wesley Fofana; 65 by the Spanish Marc Cucurella and 56 by the winger Raheem Sterling.
The results obtained so far, however, have been far from the money spent. It is tenth in the Premier, nine points behind fourth place in the Champions League set by Tottenham, although in recent times there has been a rebound with three consecutive victories. Among them, the return against Dortmund at home (2-0), in which they came back from 1-0 in Germany. In that second game of the tie, the team blue He finally delivered a convincing performance thanks, above all, to veterans like Kai Havertz, Kovacic, Reece James and Chilwell. In that squad there is no longer one of the keys to the 2021 title, Jorginho (sold this January to Arsenal for 11 million), and his partner in that successful midfield, N’Golo Kanté, has not played since August for a injury. Under the sticks, Kepa Arrizabalaga does appear, who this Friday learned of his return to the national team two and a half years later.
The English coach Graham Potter (47 years old) entered the controls in September, from Brighton and whose position has been much discussed in recent months due to a rather crooked career on the field. He succeeded Thomas Tüchel at the beginning of the course, the German who elevated Chelsea until that 2021 European Cup (against City), but since that crown, the results have been declining. To a large extent, also, due to the institutional crisis that arose in the entity due to the forced departure of Abramovich’s leadership, as part of the sanctions for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The American banker Todd Boehly took control of the club for 3,000 million euros.
Of the seven possible rivals, more than half (four) had already been directed by Carlo Ancelotti in his career, so it was difficult for him not to produce a reunion. It was not with Milan – he does not want it until the final, he said – but with Chelsea, which was his first destination outside Italy, between 2009 and 2011. He lifted the Premier and the FA Cup the first year, but relations with the boss at the time, Roman Abramovich, soon broke up. The tycoon accused him of a soft hand with the wardrobe. Another reunion will be that of Antonio Rüdiger with his old team, in which he spent five seasons.
Beyond Madrid-Chelsea, the quarterfinals will be absorbed, from the outset, by the collision between two powers from two disparate worlds: the new wealth of City against the old aristocracy of Bayern. The first, owned by the United Arab Emirates, searches with the Champions League for the only piece that is missing from the collection, the great trophy that would give meaning to the great investment made. The Munich team, for their part, with six titles in the cupboard, already defeated the main representative of that lineage of nouveau riche (PSG) in the round of 16 and now they will face the citizenthe project in the hands of Pep Guardiola with much more solid foundations than the Parisians.
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