Real Madrid News
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Liverpool
A mouthwatering Champions League clash is on our hands tonight as Real Madrid take the trip to England to lock horns against Liverpool in the round of 16. It is the first time the two sides are going head-to-head after the UCL final last season.
Thibaut Courtois starts in goal, hoping to recreate his MOTM performance from the final, and is guarded by Eder Militao and Antonio Rudiger in central defence. David Alaba continues as the left-back in the absence of Ferland Mendy, while Daniel Carvajal slots in at right-back.
Toni Kroos starts from the bench, with Luka Modric and Federico Valverde manning the central midfield in his absence. Eduardo Camavinga takes on the responsibility as the defensive midfielder while Aurelien Tchouameni struggles with injuries.
Karim Benzema has been given the medical green light to lead the line, aided by Brazilian firepower on either wing. Rodrygo is the right-winger, while Vinicius Jr gets the nod on the left side.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Valverde, Camavinga, Modric; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius
Real Madrid News
Kovacic speaks ahead of Real Madrid vs Chelsea: “Strange to have Modric as a rival”
In less than two weeks, Real Madrid will play hosts to Premier League giants Chelsea in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie at the Santiago Bernabeu.
It is a repeat of last season’s Champions League quarter-final, with the change being that the first leg was played at Stamford Bridge back then, which Real Madrid won triumphantly.
So, even though they lost the second leg 3-2, Los Merengues progressed on aggregate. At one point in the second leg, Real Madrid were 3-0 down and looked to be crashing out of the tournament.
But, that is not how the match played out as Luka Modric produced a moment of magic, sending in a stunning outside-of-the-boot pass for Rodrygo to guide home. That forced the match into extra time and Karim Benzema then scored to seal an aggregate win for his team.
Mateo Kovacic, a former Real Madrid midfielder, was on the losing side with Chelsea on that fateful night. And the Croatian has now spoken to Sportske Novosti, about that moment of magic from Modric last year as well as the prospect of facing Real Madrid again.
“We were good against Real Madrid last year, especially in Madrid. Then Modrić invented that trivela assist for Rodrygo… We have to be at 120% against them. They immediately punish every minor mistake. Although I repeat, we are also a difficult opponent for them, we showed it,“ Kovacic said.
On the prospect of facing his close friend and national teammate Modric, Kovacic added: “[laughs] how the draw arranges it… It won’t be easy for us because Real Madrid is always the most dangerous team in the Champions League.”
“It’s a strange feeling to have Modric as a rival. There were hard fouls last year because neither he nor I pull back. We will fight for sure. I play on the left, he’s on the right, we will see who wants what. But I wouldn’t like to hurt him,” he added.
Chelsea had met Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League during the 2020/21 campaign as well and had managed to eliminate them at the semi-final stages on their way to winning the title.
While the Blues have not been in the best of form this season, they have the star power and quality in their ranks to hurt Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti’s men must be at their best to get through to the next round.