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During Carlo Ancelotti’s maiden season as Chelsea manager, the serial winner led the Blues to the club’s first-ever domestic double.
In the same 2009/10 campaign, Graham Potter steered Leeds Carnegie to a respectable third place in Division One of the Northern Counties East Football League. A decade on and Potter is in the Chelsea hot seat primed to face Ancelotti’s Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Ancelotti led Real Madrid to the double of La Liga and the Champions League last year and his side remain in contention for three trophies this season. Here’s how the two-legged tie against Chelsea slots into Real Madrid’s busy plans in the coming weeks.
Given La Liga’s penchant for late fixture alterations rivals Real Madrid’s goal record in the closing stages of matches, this is a provisional assessment of how the two legs against Chelsea fit into Los Blancos’ calendar.
Madrid are guaranteed to face a pair of Clasicos before even thinking about Chelsea. Los Blancos travel to Camp Nou ahead of the international break for a league meeting to try and close the gap to Barcelona at the top of the table before returning to Catalonia to contest the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final in April.
Real host Champions League-chasing Villarreal on the weekend immediately before welcoming Chelsea to the Santiago Bernabeu. When the Blues visited the Spanish capital in the quarter-finals of last season’s competition, a side led by Thomas Tuchel raced into a 3-0 lead on the night, overturning a 3-1 defeat from the first leg at Stamford Bridge. However, Rodrygo popped up with an 80th-minute volley to send the tie to extra time, which Madrid won courtesy of Karim Benzema.
This is where the uncertainty creeps in. Madrid are tentatively pencilled in to travel to Cadiz on the weekend between the first and second legs but the exact day has not been confirmed by the Spanish top flight. A trip to Cadiz in mid-April is a gorgeous weekend away but the Andalusia outfit are unlikely to be welcoming hosts as they scrap for points amid a multi-team relegation scrum to rival that of this season’s Premier League.
After the second leg at Stamford Bridge, Real are set to host Celta Vigo. On the periphery of the aforementioned drop zone dogfight, Celta could be safe by the time they travel to the Bernabeu, a venue in which the Vigo club have not won a La Liga game since 2005.
Real Madrid fixture list with Chelsea UCL quarter finals
Real Madrid’s only victory against Chelsea in the club’s history came on their visit to Stamford Bridge last season as Benzema bagged a hat-trick within 25 minutes on either side of half time.