Real Madrid have travelled to London ahead of the second leg of their Champions League semi-final clash against Chelsea with almost a full-strength squad to choose from.
Sergio Ramos has returned from injury after almost three months on the sidelines, as have Ferland Mendy, Eden Hazard and Fede Valverde.
Zinedine Zidane has a tough choice to make when picking his starting XI, with the main dilemma surrounding Ramos and Hazard, who could both start, despite not being fully match fit.
Reasons why Sergio Ramos should start
If there is a player who imposes and commands this type of high-pressured game, it is Sergio Ramos. With Raphael Varane out, the Real Madrid captain could replace the Frenchman seamlessly.
Another thing that may motivate Ramos is the fact that he has been unable to help his side in the last two seasons in the Champions League, missing out against Ajax in 2019 due to suspension and Manchester City last season through injury.
Ramos would be a luxury reinforcement to count on in this second-leg semi-final and he could be difference between the two sides.
Reasons why Sergio Ramos shouldn’t start
It’s clear that Ramos won’t be at the correct level of match fitness after spending almost three months on the sidelines.
He has only played three games for Real Madrid in 2021 and, despite the loss of Varane, Zidane has found able deputies in Eder Militao and Nacho Fernandez, who have stepped up and become key players in Los Blancos’ recent run of good results.
Reasons why Eden Hazard should start
The Belgian has been slow to return, but it seems that both Zidane and Hazard were in cahoots about his return date.
He didn’t feature against either Barcelona or Liverpool, despite training with the rest of his teammates.
Hazard played eleven minutes on his return against Real Betis and started the match against Osasuna.
His link-up play with Karim Benzema is something that Zidane will need more of in the second leg against Chelsea, and the fact that he will be coming up against his old club could spur Hazard on even more.
Reasons why Eden Hazard shouldn’t play
Real Madrid have managed to fight for both LaLiga Santander and the Champions League thus far without Hazard, who has once again failed to impress in his second year at the club due to injuries.
Zidane has also managed to get the best out of Vinicius Junior, who was a key player against Liverpool in the first leg of their quarter-final tie.
Maybe without space to manoeuvre Hazard or Rodrygo Goes are better options for Real Madrid, but with space to run forward Vinicius is second to none.