Manchester United ‘are set to make £40m bid for Raphael Varane this summer’ 

Manchester United ‘are set to make £40m bid for Raphael Varane this summer’, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer intent on partnering the Real Madrid defender with captain Harry Maguire

  • World Cup-winning defender Varane, 28, is understood to want a new challenge 
  • United have struggled defensively in Maguire’s absence due to an ankle injury 
  • The Red Devils were defensively shoddy in a 4-2 home defeat against Liverpool 

Manchester United are reportedly lining up a £40million bid for Real Madrid centre back Raphael Varane this summer.

United are on track to finish second in the Premier League but their defence has been shaky, with more goals conceded than 17th-placed Brighton. 

According to the Mirror, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen on signing the Frenchman to play alongside captain Harry Maguire at the heart of the defence.

Manchester United are reportedly lining up a £40million bid for Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane

Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to want him to partner Harry Maguire (left)

Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to want him to partner Harry Maguire (left)

Varane, 28, only has a year left on his contract and United believe they can secure his signature for around £40m.

The 73-cap international has spent a decade with the Spanish giants, making 359 appearances in all competitions, winning 18 trophies in that time.

He has won three La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and the 2018 World Cup, and would bring pace, poise and winning experience to the side.

Victor Lindelof (left) and Eric Bailly (right) failed to impress in a 4-2 home loss against Liverpool

Victor Lindelof (left) and Eric Bailly (right) failed to impress in a 4-2 home loss against Liverpool

The Red Devils have tried to sign him before in previous transfer windows, but could get a deal over the line this summer, with Varane understood to want a new challenge.

United have struggled in the absence of the previously ever-present Maguire, who has missed the last two matches with an ankle injury, and the side conceding six goals in that time, including a 4-2 loss against Liverpool at Old Trafford. 

Eric Bailly, who signed a new contract until 2024 last month, and Victor Lindelof have failed to consistently impress and Varane could be the answer.

Up next United host Fulham on Tuesday before travelling to Wolves in the last Premier League game of the season on Sunday, and Solskjaer urged his defenders to step up with Maguire touch-and-go for the Europa League final on May 26.

He said: ‘Harry has been amazing since he came to the club. He’s been more or less ever-present, so of course, when a player is a leader, a captain, the status of him, his presence is missed.

‘But then we have players who can come in and it’s a chance for everyone to take on that little bit of leadership. We need to do that when he’s gone. You can hear him in the stands when he’s not playing. Someone else has to take that responsibility now.’

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Zinedine Zidane will walk away from Real Madrid at the end of the season even if they win LaLiga

EXCLUSIVE: Fed-up Zinedine Zidane will walk away from Real Madrid at the end of the season even if they WIN LaLiga – with club legend Raul or ex-Juventus boss Max Allegri in line to replace him 

  • Zinedine Zidane has all but made up his mind to quit Real Madrid in the summer
  • His side will be two points off leaders Atletico with a win against Granada tonight
  • Zidane will be an immediate target for Juventus and the France national team
  • Madrid chief Florentino Perez could turn to club legend and youth coach Raul
  • Ex-Juve and AC Milan boss Max Allegri is also in the running for the Madrid job 

Zinedine Zidane will almost certainly leave Real Madrid at the end of this season, regardless of whether the team wins La Liga.

They face Granada tonight and if they pick up a win they will still be just two points behind Atletico Madrid with two games to go.

But the 48-year-old coach, who has won two league titles and three Champions League crowns in less than four seasons, has all but made up his mind to walk away after the final game of the campaign at home to Villarreal on May 23.

Zinedine Zidane will almost certainly leave Real Madrid – again – at the end of this season 

Club legend and youth coach Raul is in the running to take over from Zidane for next season

Club legend and youth coach Raul is in the running to take over from Zidane for next season 

Zidane will be an immediate target for Juventus and for the France national side if they make a change after the Euros this summer. 

Madrid president Florentino Perez will be under pressure to promote Raul to replace him. He currently has the club’s youth team on the verge of promotion but Perez could also turn to Max Allegri.

Zidane has sensed for some time that he no longer has the backing of Perez and even a third league title, one that will make him the first coach to retain the league for Madrid since Leo Beenhakker in 1989, is unlikely to change his mind.

Zidane has maintained the overwhelming support of the dressing room this season and a disagreement this week with left back Marcelo, leading to him being left out of the squad for tonight’s game, are not at the heart of the coach’s discontent.

The Brazilian will be off at the end of the season anyway. Their falling out is being seen more as a symptom than a cause of what looks like an imminent divorce.

Marcelo is reported to have grown 'frustrated' at Zidane's tactics and his team selections

Marcelo is reported to have grown ‘frustrated’ at Zidane’s tactics and his team selections

Marcelo believed Zidane was overly-critical of a recent Real Madrid training session when he had urged his players to prepare with more intensity for a must-win game.

He spoke back to the manager in front of the squad and is omitted from the trip to Granada. He may not have played anyway because despite having depleted options in defence for tonight’s game, Zidane was considering picking promising 19-year-old Miguel Gutierrez to start.

The young players who have emerged in recent weeks are now the only thing that could keep Zidane at Madrid. If he is persuaded to build a new team around Gutierrez, centre-back Victor Chust, midfielders Sergio Arribas and Antonio Blanco, with the prospect of the club continuing its pursuit of Kylian Mbappe then his mind could be changed.

But he does not believe there is a will in the Real Madrid board room to convince him to stay.

Madrid have threadbare resources going into tonight’s game. Alvaro Odriozola, Eder Militao Nacho Fernandez and Gutierrez will be the back four because they are the last four fit defenders.

Zidane’s midfield trinity of Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric are fit to start alongside another of his favourites, the Uruguayan midfielder Fede Valverde. And he must decide between Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard to partner Karim Benzema.

If Madrid are beaten then Atletico could win La Liga by winning at home to Osasuna this Sunday.

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Real Madrid: Marcelo ‘involved in bust-up with boss Zinedine Zidane’

Marcelo AXED from Real Madrid squad to face Granada tonight ‘after bust-up with boss Zinedine Zidane’ as Brazilian full-back ‘has grown tired of manager’s tactics and line-up decisions’

  • Real Madrid take on Granada on Thursday night but will be without Marcelo
  • The Brazilian full-back has not been selected by Zinedine Zidane for the match
  • Reports in Spain detail ‘an argument’ between the two over playing time
  • Marcelo is also believed to be ‘frustrated’ over Zidane’s tactics and selections 

Marcelo has been axed from Real Madrid’s squad following an argument with boss Zinedine Zidane over his tactics and team selections, according to a report in Spain. 

The Brazilian has found his minutes this season with Ferland Mendy often the preferred left back option.

According to Goal, Marcelo has become ‘increasingly frustrated’ at Zidane and that frustration boiled over on the eve of Real Madrid’s LaLiga match with Granada on Thursday. 

Marcelo will play no part for Real Madrid against Granada after being dropped from the squad

Zinedine Zidane is reported to have clashed with the Brazilian during training on Tuesday

Zinedine Zidane is reported to have clashed with the Brazilian during training on Tuesday

With Mendy out for the remainder of the season with a shin injury, Marcelo assumed he would play out the campaign at left back. 

But Goal’s report details a bust-up with Zidane during Tuesday’s training session and the Frenchman elected to leave Marcelo out entirely for the squad to face Granada as a result. 

In the absence of Mendy and Marcelo, academy star Miguel Gutierrez is expected to be handed the starting role at left back.

Marcelo, who is 15th on the list of minutes played at Real Madrid this season, is believed to not be alone in his frustrations at Zidane.

The Brazilian has been at Real Madrid since 2007 and has been a mainstay down the left side, making more than 370 appearances.

He is a five-time LaLiga winner and four-time Champions League winner and it is a huge call from Zidane on the eve of a must-win game as part of the title race.

Tensions behind the scenes are said to extend beyond Marcelo, however. 

The 33-year-old full-back is reported to be one of a number of squad veterans who are ‘frustrated’ at Zidane’s methods throughout this LaLiga title defence. 

Last week Goal reported that there is ‘a consensus’ in the dressing room that a ‘tired’ Zidane will leave at the end of the season.

Zidane’s side still have an outside shot at the title but must defeat Granada at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes to keep leaders Atletico Madrid honest with two games remaining. 

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Real Madrid offer update on the £500million redevelopment of their Bernabeu stadium

Real Madrid offer update on the £500million redevelopment of their Bernabeu stadium… almost two YEARS after construction began in June 2019

  • Los Blancos’ ground has been out of action this campaign due to building works
  • They has been playing matches at the reserves’ HQ Estadio Alfredo di Stefano
  • The updates include building a retractable roof, a shopping centre and a hotel 

Real Madrid have delivered an update on their huge £500million development project of their Santiago Bernabeu stadium, nearly two years after work began back in June 2019. 

The gigantic rebuild means the club have not played at the ground this season, instead playing at the 6,000-capacity Estadio Alfredo di Stefano, usually the arena for the reserve side, Real Madrid Castilla.

Real tweeted a picture of the development works from their English-speaking Twitter account, with the caption: ‘WORK IN PROGRESS,’ bookended by crane emojis.

Real Madrid have offered an update of the redevelopment works at their Bernabeu stadium

The project will include a fixed roof which covers every seat, as well as a retractable roof which covers the entire pitch, while it is also understood the current capacity of 81,000 will remain the same despite plenty of off-pitch additions. 

The works will install a 360-degree screen, a shopping centre, a five-storey underground car park, and new restaurants.

Moreover, there is set to be a hotel built, with some rooms offering a view of the Bernabeu pitch.

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp (left) criticised Madrid's temporary stadium after their European tie

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp (left) criticised Madrid’s temporary stadium after their European tie

Reds lost 3-1 to the Spanish giants at the 6,000-capacity Estadio Alfredo di Stefano ground

Reds lost 3-1 to the Spanish giants at the 6,000-capacity Estadio Alfredo di Stefano ground

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp criticised Los Blancos’ temporary ground after losing their Champions League quarter-final first leg 3-1 there.

He said: ‘This here tonight was really strange because it was a difficult situation in the stadium,’ before adding: ‘Anfield is at least a proper stadium’.

But Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman defended the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano after Klopp’s comments, declaring: ‘It’s disparaging to a big club like Madrid. They’ve chosen the time to do renovation works at their stadium and they’ve chosen well.’

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Zinedine Zidane remains tight-lipped on his Real Madrid future amid pressure

Zinedine Zidane admits he’s not sure if he’s the ‘right one’ to lead Real Madrid forward following their tame Champions League exit, with Juventus lining up a move for him to replace Andrea Pirlo as manager

  • Zinedine Zidane has remained coy on his Real Madrid future amid exit rumours 
  • Los Blancos could end the season without a trophy under the Frenchman 
  • The Spaniards were sent packing from the Champions League earlier this week
  • Zidane says he will make any decision for Madrid chiefs ‘easy’ this summer 

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said he will make any decision that they wish to take about his position ‘easy’ for the club.

The Frenchman, who has won three Champions League trophies and two La Liga titles in two spells as Real coach, could find his future under threat should Real end the season trophyless.

The La Liga champions were dumped out of the Copa del Rey by third tier Alcoyano in January and were defeated comfortably by Chelsea in their Champions League semi-final this week.

Zinedine Zidane has remained tight-lipped over his Real Madrid future this summer

They are second in la Liga, two points behind Atletico Madrid, and require their city rivals to slip up if they are to stand a chance of retaining their crown.

‘Let’s just finish this season. What I will say is that I’ll make things easy for the club, always, because they’ve always given me everything,’ Zidane told a news conference on Saturday.

‘Everyone does their job. I don’t think about criticism. Am I responsible? Sure. When we win I have part of that responsibility and when we lose too.

The Madrid boss is under pressure after his side's limp exit in the Champions League this week

The Madrid boss is under pressure after his side’s limp exit in the Champions League this week

The Spanish giants are also not certain to win the LaLiga title with the race down to the wire

The Spanish giants are also not certain to win the LaLiga title with the race down to the wire

‘I don’t know if I’m the right one or not, but at the moment I’m the Real Madrid coach.

‘I’ll make things very easy, but right now we are all focused on the four remaining games and ending the season well. That’s what motivates me. All the rest is just talk.

‘I do not want to give problems to the club. It is what I said before. I focus on what we have tomorrow.’ 

And the Frenchman says he will make it 'easy' for the club amid links with the Juventus job

And the Frenchman says he will make it ‘easy’ for the club amid links with the Juventus job

Zidane has been heavily linked with a return to Turin and former club Juventus amid growing pressure on under-fire boss Andrea Pirlo, with the Old Lady desperate to win the Champions League again.

A return to his former club would see him link up with Cristiano Ronaldo again, with the pair enjoying huge success together in the Spanish capital.  

Real host fourth-placed Sevilla on Sunday as they bid to remain in the title race, but they will be without captain Sergio Ramos who has picked up a hamstring injury.

The centre back joined fellow defenders Rafael Varane, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez on the sidelines.

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Rio Ferdinand sticks boot into ‘tired and old’ Real Madrid after Champions League defeat to Chelsea

Rio Ferdinand sticks boot into ‘tired and old’ Real Madrid and insists Zinedine Zidane’s men were lucky not to lose by ‘five or six goals’ in lacklustre Stamford Bridge showing as Chelsea book place in Istanbul final

  • Rio Ferdinand criticised Real Madrid’s performance in their defeat to Chelsea
  • The pundit labelled the Spanish side ‘tired and old’ after a lacklustre showing
  • Ferdinand claimed Madrid were lucky not to lose by five or six goals in the end
  • Steve McManaman feels tough times are ahead for club amid financial struggles

Rio Ferdinand laid into the Real Madrid team after they lost 2-0 to Chelsea in the second leg of their Champions League semi final to get knocked out of the competition.

Zinedine Zidane’s side went into the second leg knowing they had to score an away goal if they were to go through, but were second best all night and failed to mount any serious challenge to Chelsea’s backline.

Speaking after the match, Ferdinand believed the visitors were lucky the margin of their defeat wasn’t wider.   

Rio Ferdinand was disappointed by a lethargic performance from Real Madrid against Chelsea

The BT pundit felt the Spanish side were unable to match the energy and hunger of the Blues

‘Yes they’ve (Madrid) got good players, but they looked tired tonight,’ Ferdinand told BT Sport.

‘They looked like an old team tonight and Chelsea looked like a young team who were hungry.

‘They could have won by about five or six goals tonight. We said before about them playing quick and in transition and breaking from midfield. 

‘Kante did that for the first goal, they did in time and time again after that and they got the job done.’

Ferdinand praised N'Golo Kante but questioned the Madrid side after they were well beaten

Ferdinand praised N’Golo Kante but questioned the Madrid side after they were well beaten 

Madrid sit second in La Liga, trailing leaders Atletico Madrid by two points as the season moves to an end.

The club continue to suffer with huge financial problems, and with the collapse of the European Super League proposals a quick solution to that seems unlikely.

Steve McManaman, who played for the Spanish side for four seasons, suggested there are troubles times ahead for his former club.    

‘They got big problems ahead of them,’ McManaman said. ‘They’re fine in La Liga like a lot of the teams in Spain financially. 

‘They have got to change the team around. They couldn’t keep all the players, Gareth Bale had to go, James left and Odegaard when out on loan, Luka Jovic too. 

‘They weakened the squad that way, they need reinforcements.’ 

Steve McManaman feels former side have big problems ahead with key players out on loan

Steve McManaman feels former side have big problems ahead with key players out on loan

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PLAYER RATINGS: Jorginho shines for Chelsea but Real Madrid’s Marcelo way off the pace

It’s advantage Chelsea in their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid after clinching a 1-1 draw in Spain on Tuesday night. 

Christian Pulisic put Chelsea ahead, snatching a vital away goal with a cool finish before Karim Benzema equalised with a powerful volley.  

Sportsmail’s Sami Mokbel rates how the players on both sides fared on a rainy evening in Spain. 

Christian Pulisic’s away goal for Chelsea could prove vital in their tie with Real Madrid

REAL MADRID 

Thibaut Courtois – Brilliant early stop to deny Werner’s point-blank effort only to be beaten by Pulisic moments later. 7

Eder Militao – Looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights as Chelsea came out with all guns blazing – but played a role in his side’s leveller. 6.5

Raphael Varane – One of the world’s best central defenders but he looked anything but as Chelsea ran Madrid’s rearguard ragged. 6

Nacho – Took a while to adapt to the change of system and looked startled by Chelsea’s pace but eventually settled into the game. 6

Dani Carvajal – Overworked defensively down Real’s right hand side as Chelsea smelt blood early on. 6

Luka Modric – Chelsea didn’t give the brilliant Croatian a second to breath in the engine room. Just as well. 6.5

Luka Modric wasn't given a moment to get a grasp of the game due to Chelsea's midfield

Luka Modric wasn’t given a moment to get a grasp of the game due to Chelsea’s midfield

It was a bad night for Marcelo, who was Madrid's least inspiring performer against Chelsea

It was a bad night for Marcelo, who was Madrid’s least inspiring performer against Chelsea

Casemiro – Immense at Anfield in the quarter-final but took a little while to settle down here as Chelsea asserted themselves. 6

Toni Kroos – Unsurprisingly saw more of the ball than any Real player, but Chelsea didn’t give him time to have his usual impact. Booked. 6.5

Marcelo – Went missing defensively at the start but eventually regained his composure. Not at his excellent best. 5.5

Karim Benzema – Brilliantly equalised for his side against the run of play. A constant threat for the Spaniards. 7

Vinicius Junior – Tried his best to stretch Chelsea, but the Blues defence kept him under control for the most part. Booked. 6

Karim Benzema took his goal superbly to equalise for Real Madrid in the first half on Tuesday

Karim Benzema took his goal superbly to equalise for Real Madrid in the first half on Tuesday

Subs: Hazard 6 (Vinicius 66); Odriozola, booked (Carvajal 77); Asensio (Marcelo 77); Rodrygo (Benzema 90)

Subs not used: Lunin, Isco, Mariano, Altube, Arribas, Blanco, Gutiérrez.

Zinedine Zidane – Will be happy with how his team responded to Chelsea’s blistering start. His decision to change the system didn’t work. 6

Chelsea 

Edouard Mendy – Had very little to do apart from pick the ball out of the net as Chelsea threw caution to the wind. 6.5

Andreas Christensen – Lost Benzema for a split second just before the Frenchman’s superb leveller but an otherwise strong night. 6.5

Thiago Silva – Will be disappointed by Benzema’s goal but eased through this match. A calming influence in the heart of Chelsea’s defence. 6.5

Antonio Rudiger – Continued his excellent form since the turn of the year. Set-up Pulisic’s excellent opener. 7

Cesar Azpilicueta – Lost a crucial header to Militao in the lead up to Real’s leveller but was largely dependable in the teeming rain. 6.5

N’Golo Kante – So much energy and quality in central midfield. Superb at both ends of the pitch. 7

Jorginho – Massively influential and looked at home in a congested and illustrious midfield area. Everything went through the Italian. 8

Jorginho was outstanding for Chelsea with all of their play going through the Italian

Jorginho was outstanding for Chelsea with all of their play going through the Italian

It was another tireless display from N'Golo Kante as he impressed against Real Madrid

It was another tireless display from N’Golo Kante as he impressed against Real Madrid

Ben Chilwell – Provided a beneficial outlet for the Blues. Saw plenty of the ball and used it well for his team. 7

Christian Pulisic – Took his early goal brilliantly and caused Real’s defence all worlds of problems with his movement. Booked. 7.5

Timo Werner – Missed a guild-edged opportunity to open the scoring. It didn’t get much better for German. 5.5

Mason Mount – Buzzed around the pitch causing problems wherever he ventured. Truly belongs at this level. 7

Christian Pulisic took his goal excellently as Chelsea got a vital away strike in Spain

Christian Pulisic took his goal excellently as Chelsea got a vital away strike in Spain

Subs: James 6 (Azpilicueta 66); Ziyech 6 (Pulisic 66); Havertz 6 (Werner 66)

Subs not used: Arrizabalaga, Alonso, Abraham, Caballero, Zouma, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Gilmour, Emerson.

Thomas Tuchel: Should be delighted with his side’s display – but will leave Spain feeling his side should have left with more. 7

Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED) – Showed no signs of pro-Chelsea bias despite Real Madrid’s pre-match concerns. 6

Real Madrid vs Chelsea – Champions League: Confirmed team news, TV channel, live stream, odds

Chelsea travel to Spain for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie against Real Madrid on Tuesday night. 

Thomas Tuchel is looking to guide Chelsea to an historic season in his first campaign with the club, having defeated Manchester City to reach the FA Cup final, while breezing past Porto in the quarter-finals to reach the Champions League final-four.  

Madrid also have their work cut out for them domestically, currently sat second and two points behind Atletico Madrid in the race for the La Liga title. The Champions League veterans proved their credentials once more in the quarter-finals with a dominant 3-1 aggregate win over Liverpool. 

Chelsea now have a serious chance to claim Champions League success for the first time since 2012, where they won their one and only title. Meanwhile, Madrid last reached the semi-finals in 2018, when they went on to lift the cup.  

There is also some added steel to the impending counter, with Madrid president Florentino Perez still adamant that all 12 European Super League clubs remain tied to the proposal, while Chelsea quickly reversed their decision to join and Roman Abramovic has since issued an apology to the fans. 

With the highly-anticipated spectacle now quickly approaching, Sportsmail takes you through the all-important information. 

With just four teams remaining, the focus now switches firmly towards the prestigious trophy

Zinedine Zidane is searching for a fourth Champions League title with Real Madrid

Thomas Tuchel is looking to guide Chelsea to a famous triumph in his first season in charge

Zinedine Zidane (left) and Thomas Tuchel (right) go head-to-head on Tuesday evening

When is Real Madrid vs Chelsea?

Chelsea travel to Spain to face Madrid in their Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday, April 27. 

The match will kick-off at 8pm BST at Madrid’s Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, with renovations currently taking place at their usual Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. 

Due to the prevalent coronavirus restrictions, the match will be played behind closed doors.  

Chelsea have a home tie against relegation-threatened Fulham in the Premier League to follow ahead of next week’s return leg, while Madrid face Osasuna as they bid to overtake Atletico Madrid in the race for the La Liga title. 

How to watch Champions League semi-final

The match will be broadcast live on BT Sport 2, with coverage getting underway at 7pm. 

Subscribers can also watch the game on both the BT website and app. 

Real Madrid vs Chelsea: Team news

Chelsea are coming into their crucial fixture against Madrid with close to the entirety of their squad available to Tuchel. 

The notable exception is that of Matte Kovacic, who will miss the first leg having struggled with a muscle injury as of late.  

Madrid have been handed a major boost with the return of Toni Kroos, who has missed their last three matches as a precautionary measure. 

Additionally, Eden Hazard could be in line to face his former club, having made a 15-minute cameo in Madrid’s draw with Real Betis on Saturday.  

Zidane will be without Ferland Mendy, however, with the full-back struggling with a calf problem. Meanwhile, captain Sergio Ramos is reportedly targeting a return for the second leg.  

Real Madrid vs Chelsea: Key Champions League stats

 Real Madrid

Group finish: 1st

Top scorer: Karim Benzema (5)

Most assists: Luka Modric (3)

Goals scored: 18

Goals conceded: 11

Chelsea 

Group finish: 1st

Top scorer: Olivier Giroud (6)

Most assists: Timo Werner (2)

Goals scored: 19

Goals conceded: 3

Routes to the semi-finals  

Vinicius Junior scored an emphatic brace as Madrid dumped Liverpool out of the competition

Vinicius Junior scored an emphatic brace as Madrid dumped Liverpool out of the competition

Mason Mount's phenomenal season continued as he scored a crucial goal against Porto

Mason Mount’s phenomenal season continued as he scored a crucial goal against Porto

Chelsea have enjoyed a dominant campaign in the Champions League this season, conceding just three goals and scoring 19 in their 10 matches played. 

They started their group campaign in disappointing fashion, however, drawing their opener 0-0 at home to Sevilla. 

The Blues never looked back from there, however, winning four matches on the bounce, before finishing their group stage with a 1-1 draw against FC Krasnodar, which saw them top their respective quartet. 

Chelsea’s impressive form has certainly continued into the knockout stages, where they have conceded just one goal in four matches, sealing a 3-0 aggregate win over La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid and a 2-1 win over Porto. 

In typical fashion, Madrid started the competition slowly with a home defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk that preceded a draw with Borussia Monchengladbach. 

They bounced back with four consecutive victories to top their group, before claiming a 3-0 aggregate win over Atalanta to progress to the quarter-finals. 

There, they came up against Liverpool in a repeat of the 2018 Champions League final, and again they emerged victorious, this time via a 3-1 aggregate win.  

Real Madrid vs Chelsea: The odds

Though Chelsea come into the clash full of confidence after beating West Ham in their crucial Premier League encounter, it’s Madrid who are favoured by the bookies in the first leg. 

Remarkably, given their respective stature in European football, the pair have met just three times in history, with Chelsea winning twice and the other result being a draw. 

They last met all the way back in 1998, when Chelsea beat their Spanish counterparts to win the UEFA Super Cup.     

Regardless, Los Blancos are the favourites to prevail, with odds of 7/5 to win the first leg, while Chelsea are the underdogs at 23/10. Meanwhile, a draw is at 21/10.   

*Odds as per Betfair and correct at the time of publication 

Champions League semi-finals in full  

Champions League semi-finals 

Tuesday, April 27

Wednesday, April 28

  • Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester City 

Tuesday, May 4

  • Manchester City vs Paris Saint-Germain

Wednesday May 5

Real Madrid: Zinedine Zidane insists Eden Hazard is ready to ‘push on’ against Chelsea

Zinedine Zidane insists Eden Hazard is ready to ‘push on’ against his former side Chelsea as he claims injury-plagued star is fully fit and ‘not feeling any of his old problems’ ahead of first leg of Champions League semi-final

Zinedine Zidane has backed Eden Hazard to play a major role against his old side Chelsea when Real Madrid take on Thomas Tuchel’s men in the Champions League.

The Belgian could start Tuesday’s semi-final first leg after returning from a muscle injury during Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Real Betis.

And Zidane, who has only been able to give Hazard 15 appearances all season amid a host of fitness issues, believes the £130million star is finally ready to ‘push on’ when his former club visit. 

Zinedine Zidane has backed Eden Hazard (right) to ‘push on’ against Chelsea on Tuesday

‘I don’t see Eden having any doubts,’ Zidane said during a press conference on Monday morning. 

‘He looked very good on the field the other day. That was the important thing, not feeling any of his old problems. Now he is good, and now to push on. 

‘We are happy to have him with us, he will bring a lot to the team.’

Hazard has missed 22 matches through injury and illness so far this season, but his team-mate, Raphael Varane, says the former Chelsea favourite is determined to impress against his former team.

‘I have spoken with him, he is very motivated,’ Varane said of Hazard during his own press conference ahead of Tuesday’s first leg.

‘Playing a Champions semi-final encourages anyone, but if you play against your old club it is one more motivation. 

‘He knows the club and the team we face very well. We know his qualities and the desire he has to help the team.’

More to follow. 

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