The most difficult yet for Real Madrid. Of all the possibilities that the draw held, the worst ones surely occurred for the interests of the whites, current champions. Not only because of the entity of their rivals both in the quarterfinals, Chelsea, and in an eventual semifinal, Manchester City or Bayern Munich, but because the return in both qualifiers will be in the opposite field. This is a factor that was fundamental in explaining the victory of Carlo Ancelotti’s men in the Champions League last season.

The first leg will be played at the Santiago Bernabéu on April 11/12 and the second leg at Stamford Bridge on April 18/19.

In the other part of the table there is also no clear favorite to stand in the final, although the level in this case is much lower. Inter Milan – Benfica and Milan – Napoli, will be the quarterfinals. After many years, three Italian teams are facing a great opportunity to return to a Champions League final, as is Benfica, the only Portuguese team in contention.

This will be the third time in a row that Real Madrid have found themselves on their way to Chelsea. Two seasons ago the British defeated the whites (1-1 and 0-2) in the semifinals and later became champions. Last season they met in the quarterfinals and Ancelotti’s men won 1-3 at Stanford Bridge and reached the semifinals at the Bernabéu after extra time (2-3).

For Emilio Butragueño, director of institutional relations for Real Madrid, Chelsea represents a challenge for many reasons. “We know each other well. Last year we advanced in a very tight tie, it’s a great rival. They have top-class players in all positions. Being in the quarterfinals after eliminating Liverpool is something to be satisfied with,” he explained.

“They are a team with enormous resources. We had a very difficult tie. They had already eliminated us before. They will be matches of enormous equality. Hopefully we will be inspired and have those levels of luck that are necessary,” he concluded.