Real Madrid are gearing up for a must-win match at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea in the second leg of the Champions League semifinals. They managed to eke out a 1-1 draw in the first leg despite playing poorly in the first half, but they know a lot more quality will be required in the final third in order for them to breach Thomas Tuchel’s defense multiple times on the road.
There have been a number of questions regarding key absences heading into this fixture. Yesterday, we learned that star defenders Sergio Ramos and Ferland Mendy would be able to play. And now, Real have received another double boost ahead of the second leg.
Marcelo’s status was in doubt due to polling duty, but an alternate took his place, enabling him to make the trip to London. Meanwhile, Valverde needed to test negative for the COVID-19 PCR test, which has finally been the case today.
Fede Valverde could be a significant boost to Real Madrid’s chances
While Marcelo struggled in the first leg and isn’t expected to start with Mendy back from his injury, it’s nice to have him in the squad.
Valverde’s inclusion is a bigger deal. He probably won’t start, as Zinedine Zidane trusts the world-class trio of Casemiro, Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos. But Valverde could be an important difference-maker off the bench. Since he played at right back against Liverpool at Anfield, there’s even a chance the Uruguayan will start at the position in a back four over Alvaro Odriozola, who does not have Zizou’s trust.
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Real Madrid can feel better about their chances with Valverde, Ramos, and Mendy all back, as Madridistas had hoped last week in the aftermath of their disappointing first leg performance. Let’s see if they can help Los Blancos turn it around and win.