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Football Reporting

La Liga

Chelsea – Real Madrid: injured and sanctioned players for the Champions League

Chelsea and Real Madrid will seek to join Manchester City in the Champions League final in Istanbul at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday as Thomas Tuchel’s side host Zinedine Zidane and the Liga heavyweights following a 1-1 draw at the Di Stéfano. City beat PSG 2-0 a day earlier to reach the showpiece game for the first time in the club’s history and will await the winners of this evening’s clash.

Zidane will be happy with his lot

After a season when it has often been a struggle for Zidane to fill his bench on match days the Frenchman will have been pretty pleased with what he saw boarding the plane to London. Remaining in Madrid are Raphaël Varane, a significant absence in the heart of defence, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vázquez, who might have been expected to start the game in tandem on the right under normal circumstances.

Zidane has recovered Sergio Ramos, Ferland Mendy and Fede Valverde to balance things out. The lack of the club captain and the France international at Stamford Bridge in addition to the absence of Varane and Carvajal would have provided the Madrid manager with a significant headache but Zidane will be able to play an experienced back line while not losing the ability to shuffle his strategic deck if necessary, with the Uruguayan and utility man Nacho in reserve.

Marcelo also boarded the flight after being relieved of his duties as an electoral table assistant in Madrid’s regional elections on 4 May after a volunteer stood in for the Brazilian defender, who did turn up at 8am as required and was due to fly out separately later on.

Kovacic denied Real Madrid reunion

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Tuchel also has more or less a full squad to choose from but former Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic will be denied the opportunity to go up against his old teammates and international captain Luka Modric as the Croatian has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Antonio Rüdiger passed a late fitness test and will start in defence after sitting out the victory against Fulham and Tuchel has not other injury concerns for Wednesday’s game.

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