The semi-final matches of the European Champions League (ECL) start today with Real Madrid of Spain hosting Chelsea FC at home.
There are some interesting facts about these two club sides.
The two clubs, Real Madrid and Chelsea will be meeting in the European Champions League for the very first time ever. The last meeting between both clubs was in 2016 at the International Champions Cup where Real Madrid defeated Chelsea 3-2. Other meetings were in 2013 and 1998 during the International Champions Cup and UEFA Super Cup Final.
It is equally amazing to note that Ferland Mendy, who plays as left-back for Real Madrid is a cousin to Edouard Mendy, the Chelsea FC goalkeeper. Both players will be expected to come face to face in the epic clash tonight.
Interestingly, Mateo Kovacic, the former Real Madrid midfielder, who spent four years at the club between 2015-2019, will be playing against his former club tonight.
Mateo Kovacic was on a one-year loan from Real Madrid to Chelsea in 2018-2019 after which he signed a five-year contract under former coach, Maurizio Sarri.
Two players that would also be returning to Stanford Bridge after the first leg of tonight’s encounter include Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, both are Belgian professional footballers, who had donned the jersey of Chelsea in the past.
The former ex-Chelsea No.1 goalkeeper joined the Premier League club in July 2011, signing a five-year deal. Although, along the line, he was sent to Atletico Madrid on a season-long loan.
He returned to Chelsea during the 2014/2015 season where he spent three years with the club and finally joined Real Madrid in August 2018.
In another development, Eden Hazard who is regarded as one of Chelsea’s legends and known for his creativity, dribbling and passing, is one of the best players in the world.
The ex-Chelsea attacking midfielder joined Chelsea in June 2012 from Lille and spent seven years with “The Blues” where he scored 85 goals in 245 appearances for the club before joining Real Madrid in June 2019.
Eden Hazard’s performance has dropped drastically due to series of injuries at Real Madrid making him enjoy just a handful of appearances with the club and scoring only a few goals.
Many fans expect Eden Hazard to play against his former club tonight but it will be recalled that Hazard has never played a full 90 minutes this season as many expect him to come off the bench as he’s just returning from injury.
Finally, the two France last world cup winners, Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud, both Real Madrid and Chelsea FC forwards respectively, will also be squaring up against each other tonight.
The match between the two giants is expected to be a tough one considering the fact that some of the players will be playing against their former club.