Real Madrid and Chelsea meet in a huge Champions League quarter-final clash on Wednesday night in Spain.
Frank Lampard will take his Blues to battle after being named as interim manager of Chelsea until the end of the season and will be hopeful of securing a positive result to take back to Stamford Bridge for the second leg.
The Premier League side head into the match after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Wolves on Lampard’s return, but after a convincing victory against Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge in the round of 16, Chelsea will be hopeful of reaching the semi-final.
However, it will be a tough task for those involved as they face reigning European Champions Real Madrid, who knocked the Blues out at this stage of the competition last season.
With all of that in mind, Sportsmail has named our combined XI – but who makes it into our line-up?
Goalkeeper – Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
Quite a simple decision for our combined XI, despite Kepa Arrizabalaga’s resurgence this season, with former Blue Courtois one of the best in the world.
The Belgian proved his quality last season after a Man of the Match performance against Liverpool in the Champions League final.
Edouard Mendy was the previous best, but has seen limited game time this season after suffering a finger injury.
The Senegal shot-stopper was inconsistent under Thomas Tuchel at the start of the season before Arrizabalaga became Graham Potter’s no.1 and kept his place on Lampard’s return.
Courtois left Chelsea in controversial fashion, after reportedly missing training to force through a move to Real Madrid and had received a negative welcome back from Blues fans last season at Stamford Bridge.
Right Back – Reece James (Chelsea)
This one decides itself, too, with Real Madrid ‘huge admirers’ of the Chelsea defender.
Since breaking through to the first team under Lampard years ago, James has established himself as one of the best full-backs in the world.
The ability to operate as a wing-back sees the England international as one of Chelsea’s most dangerous outlets and last season he managed to keep Vinicius Jr quiet in an impressive performance in Madrid.
If Chelsea are to have any chance of progressing to the semi-finals, James will have to be on top form both defensively and offensively.
He’s simply miles ahead of anybody else in this position, although Dani Carvajal is so often written off but comes back to show his quality year in year out. A worthy mention.
Centre-back – Eder Militao (Real Madrid)
Previously linked with Chelsea, Eder Militao has become a real leader at Real Madrid.
The Brazilian has it all and has helped to ease the transition for Los Blancos after they lost both Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos.
Last season he formed a brilliant partnership with David Alaba as Real Madrid lifted the Champions League for the 14th time and he is a staple of Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
The versatile defender can also operate on the right, with all the characteristics as a top athlete with his strengths and speed.
Chelsea’s lack of a striker, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and David Datro Fofana not registered for the Champions League, could see a comfortable quarter-final for Militao
Centre-back – Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
Making it a Brazilian partnership in central defence, Thiago Silva returns from injury just in time for Chelsea.
The 38-year-old has proven that he ages like wine, getting better and better as the years go on.
When Lampard signed him for Chelsea in 2020, he was not expected to still be here now and so crucial to the Blues’ defensive structure.
With a year contract extension in the bag, Silva will remain at Chelsea until he is 39-years-old at least as the Brazilian goes down as one of the best to ever play the game.
An honourable mention to former Blue Antonio Rudiger, who Chelsea will be hoping has an off-day against his former employers.
Left-back – David Alaba (Real Madrid)
We’ve placed him at left-back in our team, as David Alaba really can do it all.
The Austrian has been deployed in central defence, midfield and on the left during his career and never looked out of place.
Another player that eased into life in Madrid with big shoes to fill, Alaba has exceeded expectation and remains among Europe’s elite.
While Ben Chilwell could have made this spot, Alaba is simply on another level and has won it all in his career.
The England international may provide more going forward, with brilliant attacking output, but it would have been a crime to leave Alaba out of this team.
Central midfield – Enzo Fernandez (Chelsea)
Chelsea did all they could to bring the World Cup winner to Stamford Bridge in January and their efforts could be rewarded in the quarter-final.
If the Blues are to win, Enzo Fernandez will be crucial as he faces off against arguably the best midfield to ever grace the game.
The 22-year-old proved that he is a world class talent already and has the potential to reach the levels of those that he is up against.
Now is his toughest test up against Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, but it’s a challenge that Fernandez himself admitted he doesn’t fear.
The British-record transfer could reward Todd Boehly and Co’s effort to bring him in with a sublime match-winning performance in Madrid.
Central midfield – Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
Kroos goes down as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, with impressive spells at both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
The German star made up one of the greatest midfield trio’s of all time alongside Modric and Casemiro and rightly gets his place in the team.
Chelsea will have to be wary of his dead ball delivery as Kroos already has two assists in the Champions League this year.
He’ll most likely sit the deepest of the midfield and look to spray passes to launch attacks as Fernandez will be tasked with the responsibility of doing the same for Chelsea.
It simply would not be right to leave the generational German out of this side.
Central midfielder – Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Despte N’Golo Kante’s impressive return from long-term injury, he just loses out on a place in the midfield.
Chelsea missed out on Modric as he departed Tottenham Hotspur for Real Madrid and the rest is history.
The Blues are aware of his quality to change a game in a split second, as he did last year with a sublime outside of the boot assist for Rodrygo to send Chelsea home.
His creative output must be contained if Lampard’s side are to bring anything away from Madrid this evening.
It all could have been so different, if only Daniel Levy let him join Roman Abramovich’s Blues all those years ago.
Left-wing – Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)
The Brazilian is one of the best wingers in world football, so samba’s his way into this side.
Despite James keeping him quiet last year, Vinicus Jr went on to prove his quality in the semi-final and final of the Champions League, netting the winner against Liverpool.
With six goals and three assists in the tournament this season, Vinicius Jr is doing everything within his power to bring home number 15.
It’s up to Chelsea to keep him quiet in front of goal, but they must also be wary of his creativity as the Brazilian has three assists in just eight Champions League appearances too.
A real test awaits the Blues defence, and James in particular, but it should make for a fascinating battle between the two youngsters.
Striker – Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Chelsea’s lack of a recognisable no.9 made this a fairly simple choice, plus the fact that Real Madrid have the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner up top.
Benzema proved to Chelsea just why he walks into this combined XI last year, scoring four against the Blues over the two-legged quarter-final.
His impressive hat-trick at Stamford Bridge left Chelsea fans stunned before he netted the goal to finally sink the Blues in the second leg.
He’ll be hoping for more of the same as the 35-year-old looks to add to his three goals in the Champions League this season after scoring 25 in all competitions.
Keeping him quiet will be a test for Chelsea’s defence, and one that they failed miserably last year.
Right-wing – Fede Valverde (Real Madrid)
Completing the combined XI is Fede Valverde, in a more unnatural position.
The midfielder is often deployed on the right for Ancelotti’s side, and the lack of options in the position says it all.
Chelsea often opt to play without a recognised winger, with Joao Felix, Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling interchanging.
The England international has not enjoyed his debut season in London, struggling wiht fitness and form, while new signing Noni Madueke is too raw and Hakim Ziyech simply doesn’t feature enough.
Valverde adds some defensive reinforcement on the right-wing which will help contain Chelsea’s overlapping left-back.
The Uruguayan is a brilliant player and adds real balance to our combined XI, allowing the creative players more freedome to dominate.