Toni Kroos hit back at Mason Mount after the Chelsea midfielder took exception to the Real Madrid star's comments ahead of their Champions League semi-final second leg. 

Kroos said prior to Madrid's 2-0 defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday that he "never lost sleep" over an opponent during his illustrious 15-year career.

Mount made note of that remark after Chelsea advanced 3-1 on aggregate to set up a Champions League final showdown against Premier League rivals Manchester City.

"I saw one of their players say before that he doesn't lose sleep over individuals," Mount told CBS Sports. 

"But I think as a team, they need to lose sleep over us as a team."

Kroos responded in a tweet on Thursday, paying a sharp-edged compliment in the process. 

"Still sleeping ok. But well done yesterday. congrats," he tweeted. 

"Good luck in your first CL final."

The allusion in Kroos' final sentence seemed clear enough. 

While the 22-year-old Mount will be playing for the Champions League title for the first time, Kroos already has won four of his own.

The 31-year-old earned the crown in 2013 with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and three in succession from 2016-2018 with Madrid. 

Kroos is also a World Cup winner with Germany.

 

Eden Hazard has apologised to Real Madrid supporters after he was seen laughing with Chelsea players following his side's Champions League semi-final exit on Wednesday.

The Belgium international, who spent seven seasons at Stamford Bridge before joining Madrid in 2019, was heavily criticised for sharing a joke with some of his former colleagues.

It came after another ineffective performance from Hazard, who has struggled for injuries in his two seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu and has been linked with a move away.

He played 89 minutes of the 2-0 loss in west London as goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount send perennial European champions Madrid crashing out 3-1 on aggregate.

A number of former Madrid players have taken aim at Hazard for his actions at full-time, with Fernando Morientes calling for the 30-year-old to say sorry to the club's fanbase.

And Hazard took to social media on Thursday to do exactly that in a short statement that read: "I am sorry. I have read lots of opinions about me today and it was not my intention to offend the Real Madrid fans.

"It has always been my dream to play for Real Madrid and I came here to win. The season is not over and together we must not battle for La Liga! Hala Madrid!"

Hazard won two Premier League titles, two Europa Leagues, the EFL Cup and the FA Cup during his time with Chelsea.

The forward has featured only 40 times for the Spanish giants in all competitions since arriving in a big-money deal, including 18 appearances in the 2020-21 campaign.

He may get an opportunity to redeem himself when title-chasing Madrid host Sevilla in LaLiga on their return to action on Sunday.

Christian Pulisic admitted to being "very frustrated" at being left out of Chelsea's starting line-up for Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg with Real Madrid.

The United States international scored a crucial away goal for the Blues in last week's first leg but was named among the substitutes for the return fixture at Stamford Bridge.

He again made his impact known, however, by setting up a goal for Mason Mount 18 minutes after being introduced from the bench in the 2-0 win, which saw Chelsea through 3-1 on aggregate.

"I'm very frustrated," Pulisic, who has struggled with injuries this term, told CBS Sports. "There's not much else to say. I wanted to play from the beginning, as I always do.

"I've had to continue to prove myself over and over again. But, as always I reach out to God and he gives me strength. With that behind me, nothing can stop me really."

A look at the Opta stats shows Pulisic has a right to be frustrated, having now scored and assisted a combined four goals in the Champions League in nine appearances this term.

Only Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner have been directly involved in more (both six) - in eight and 11 games respectively.

For comparison, Mount - who has been superb for Chelsea this season - has three direct goal involvements in 10 Champions League games, while Kai Havertz has two from 11 respectively.

Focusing on the Premier League, meanwhile, Pulisic has four goals and one assist in 23 appearances this term, just 14 of those being starts.

Pulisic's average of a 0.26 goals per 90 minutes is slightly better than Havertz's return of 0.25 and behind only Giroud (0.5) and Tammy Abraham (0.52) among Chelsea's attackers. Werner, for context, averages 0.23.

The 22-year-old also performs better when it comes to chances created per 90 minutes in the English top flight when compared to Havertz - 1.37 to the German's 1.07.

But Pulisic still ranks some way below Hakim Ziyech, who has created 2.54 chances per 90 minutes this season and will also perhaps feel that he should be starting more often.

Mount (2.68) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (2.71) lead that particular metric, incidentally, which only highlights just how many options Thomas Tuchel has available in that zone.

One area Pulisic struggles in comparison to his attacking rivals is passing accuracy in the opposition half - 80.95, which is lower than Havertz's 84.3, Mount's 85.45 and Hudson-Odoi's 85.65. ​

The American's win rate when starting games also does not make for good reading.

The Blues have won 13 and lost just two of the 20 league games Pulisic has not featured from the beginning this term, compared to four wins and five losses in the 14 games he has been included in the XI.

Chelsea average 1.8 league goals with Pulisic in their starting line-up, as opposed to 1.3 without, while their average goals against rises from 0.6 to 1.4 when he starts.

Tuchel ultimately knows best when it comes to his team selection - and he is backed up by the possibility of a Champions League and FA Cup double - so Pulisic will simply have to keep proving himself if he is to hold down a regular starting spot.

Sergio Ramos is remaining upbeat following Real Madrid's Champions League exit to Chelsea with his side still in the mix for the LaLiga title.

Madrid lost 2-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to exit the competition 3-1 on aggregate at the semi-final stage.

A record-extending 14th European Cup may be out of the question for Los Blancos, but they have plenty left to play for in the Spanish top flight.

Zinedine Zidane's men are second in the standings and just two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who travel to third-placed Barcelona on Saturday.

Ramos took to social media on Thursday to issue a rallying cry of sorts ahead of Sunday's home match with outside title contenders Sevilla.

"We're disappointed, yes. But we're not finished," he posted on Instagram. "A history built on victories but Real Madrid has always risen from defeats.

"The league title is still there for us and we're up for it."

Ramos made his first appearance in nearly two months for Madrid after recovering from injury in time to face Chelsea in the second leg.

The Spain international contested more aerial duels (eight) than any player on the field, winning 37.5 per cent of those, while only team-mates Toni Kroos (84) and Luka Modric (86) played more successful passes than his 82.

Following the loss in west London and draw in Madrid last week, Los Blancos have faced Chelsea more often without winning than any other opponent in their entire history, drawing twice and losing three times.

Chelsea will face Paris Saint-Germain's conquerors Manchester City in the May 29 final, making it the eighth showpiece to be contested by two teams from the same nation.

As for Madrid, they travel to Granada and Athletic Bilbao after this weekend's meeting with fourth-placed Sevilla, before hosting Villarreal on the final day of the season.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is reaping the benefits of taking a patient approach with the "absolutely sensational" Phil Foden, according to Stuart Pearce.

Foden has long been tipped for stardom with boyhood club City, having been part of the England squad that won the Under-17 World Cup four years ago.

However, he has had to bide his time to get opportunities under Guardiola, making just 12 Premier League starts prior to this season.

His lack of minutes led to speculation over possible loan moves to get regular football, yet the talented playmaker has instead remained at the Etihad Stadium to continue his development.

This season, however, Foden has become a key figure. The 20-year-old has scored 14 goals and provided 10 assists to help City enjoy success at home and abroad, with a league title within touching distance, the EFL Cup already secured and a Champions League final to come on May 29.

"Pep [Guardiola] was the only one who was patient [with Foden]," former City boss Pearce told Stats Perform News.

"When everyone in the media was fluttering around and wants him to go out on loan and making statements about what's best for Phil Foden, the only two that really mattered in this whole scenario was the manager and Phil Foden.

"Phil's had to be a little bit patient, but we're seeing the rewards now, he's been absolutely sensational.

"He's a regular starter for Manchester City, he's got the trust of the manager and he's had to work for that. I don't think that's a bad thing to be honest with you, the manager's handled Phil Foden brilliantly well."

While Foden is part of the long-term plans, a club legend is coming towards the end of his time with the blue half of Manchester.

Sergio Aguero will be leaving when his contract expires at the end of the 2020-21 season, ending a decade-long stay that will see him depart as City's all-time leading scorer.

Pearce – who spent a season as a player at City at the end of his career, then returned to take over as manager in 2005 - pinpoints Aguero's dramatic winner against Queens Park Rangers to seal the 2011-12 title as a pivotal moment, helping to lay the foundations for future success.

"His goal got the title for City some years ago which was the start of this journey that the club are on," the former England international said.

"When arguments come up about who’s been the best Premier League centre forward there has ever been, his name is certainly going to get mentioned, there’s no doubt about that.

"I was looking at his stats, someone asked me if I'd keep him for another year, and the important thing to do is to look at his stats.

"If you go back the last 10 years or so, or even more, he's played 30-odd games each year, sometimes 40, sometimes 50. That's a mark of a player that plays game after game after game, his goal tally replicates his appearance tally, near enough.

"He's been one of the best we've ever had, he's been a wonderful import for this country and he deserves all the accolades he gets. He will do at City, the fans know the value of Aguero."

A gripping LaLiga title race should be all Real Madrid need to pick themselves up from their Champions League semi-final loss to Chelsea, according to Zinedine Zidane.

Madrid head coach Zidane conceded his team were beaten by the better side after goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount gave Chelsea a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge, sending them through 3-1 on aggregate to an all-English final against Manchester City at the end of this month.

Los Blancos looked a shadow of the side that won three consecutive European crowns under Zidane between 2016-2018, but the France great insisted he was proud of his players' endeavours on Wednesday.

Now they face up to a LaLiga battle, where they are level on points with Barcelona and two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with four games remaining. Barca and Atleti face one another this weekend.

"We have spoken on this many times this season. It has been a year with many injuries, ups and downs, and that’s what we have dealt this year," Zidane told a post-match news conference midweek.

"Despite it all, we have done good things in this Champions League in order to reach this stage.

"I think we deserved it and we were only one step from the final, but we have to congratulate this team [Chelsea], who has been better tonight.

"It doesn't change anything. I am very pleased and very proud and now it is the time to rest and be focused on the last four games in LaLiga."

Captain Sergio Ramos and Ferland Mendy were passed fit to start for Madrid and struggled to find top gear, although Zidane insisted he had no regrets over the selections.

"If my players have played it's because they were ready for the 90 minutes," he said.

"Ramos and Mendy were ready to play, that's why I put them on. It was a semi-final and they were ready."

Another man recently back to fitness, Eden Hazard, lasted 89 minutes but had minimal impact against his former club.

After the match, images of Hazard congratulating his old Chelsea team-mates played very badly in Madrid, but Zidane urged patience with the €100million forward.

"Eden needs to play regularly and get his confidence back," he added. "And you get that slowly and playing games.

"So, we need to get back Eden and it will be possible playing games."

Thomas Tuchel said the sacrifice of leaving his family to take on the challenge of managing Chelsea has been "worth it every single day" after making history by guiding them to the Champions League final.

The Blues progressed to the final for the third time in their history as a 2-0 win over Real Madrid clinched a 3-1 aggregate victory and a place in the Istanbul showpiece against Premier League rivals Manchester City on May 29.

In doing so, Tuchel became the first manager in the history of the Champions League and European Cup to reach the final in consecutive seasons with different teams. Tuchel led Paris Saint-Germain to the final last year, only to lose 1-0 to Bayern Munich.

Chelsea will also contest the FA Cup final against Leicester City on May 15 and hold a three-point lead over fifth-placed West Ham in the race for the Premier League top four.

Tuchel has lost only two of his 24 games (W16, D6) since taking charge in January and insists he immediately felt right at home at Stamford Bridge.

"It was worth it every single day so far," Tuchel said of the sacrifice he made.

"I was part of an amazing club from the first day, I felt huge support from day one. I'm very grateful to be at the sideline of this team."

Chelsea took a 1-0 lead through Timo Werner's simple 28th-minute header after Kai Havertz had struck the crossbar, but spurned several chances to stretch their lead as Havertz twice went close and Mason Mount and N'Golo Kante wasted opportunities.

But Mount made the tie safe five minutes from time, becoming the second youngest Englishman to score in the semi-finals of the Champions League – aged 22 years and 15 days – after Wayne Rooney (21 years 182 days).

"The heads were never down, the heads were always up even after these big chances," added Tuchel.

"We always stayed positive and we never regret something so it was fantastic. The job is not done yet, we are in two finals now, the sacrifice I personally gave was worth it since day one."

Chelsea beat Pep Guardiola's City in the FA Cup semi-finals and will face them again in the league on Saturday.

Tuchel rejected the notion of that victory giving Chelsea the upper hand ahead of the final but said of the Wembley win: "It gives us a good feeling, it gives us confidence.

"We played that semi-final on the edge and we used it. I said before and I will say it always for me Bayern Munich throughout the last season with Manchester City, they are the benchmark.

"We wanted to close the gap in this one match, the semi-final, which we did on a very impressive performance and we will need the same level of performance again.

"It gave us belief, it gave us self-confidence for every game after that because it is the highest level you can face. We have these huge challenges in the Premier League, we have come out of it very, very strong, we showed mentality and quality in all of these matches.

"We will arrive with self-confidence and with the positive energy in Istanbul. We will arrive in Istanbul to win, not to be one of the participants, we arrive to be focused to win." 

Mason Mount was delighted to fire Chelsea into the Champions League final against Manchester City but felt Real Madrid got off lightly with a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Timo Werner headed Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea into a first-half lead in London but the tie remained in the balance until Mount made it 3-1 on aggregate five minutes from time on Wednesday.

Chelsea were far superior and passed up a host of chances to make the game safe – Opta's expected goals xG projection tallying 3.8-0.5 in Chelsea's favour.

"We should've probably had about five," Mount beamed in his post-match interview with BT Sport. "But the most important thing is we won. We want to go into every game winning it.

"It was 1-0 but that really didn't matter because if they score, they were back in the game.

"To get that one late on, you can see by the celebrations, it was a massive goal for us and gave us breathing space in the last five minutes.

"We gave everything and we had that desire to win first half. We had a couple of opportunities where we won the ball and should've scored but we got the one late on and it's great.

Werner nodded in a simple finish after Kai Havertz's 28th-minute chip looped down off the crossbar – a first Champions League goal from open play in Chelsea colours for the Germany forward, who came in for criticism for spurning a glorious chance during last week's first leg.

"I said to Timo, 'It must've felt like an eternity for the ball to drop down'," Mount said. "We're all buzzing for him."

City can seal the Premier League title in what is now a dress rehearsal meeting with Chelsea on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola's City have already lifted the EFL Cup for a fourth consecutive season, although Chelsea's 1-0 win over a much-changed XI in last month's FA Cup semi-final will give them hope they can deny the Premier League leaders an elusive first success in Europe's top competition.

"We haven't won anything yet. We've got two massive cup finals and hopefully we can win," Mount added, with Leicester City up at Wembley in the FA Cup final 10 days from now.

"We've got [Manchester City] on Saturday. We've played three times already this season, so it will be a stunning game."

Zinedine Zidane "got everything wrong" in Real Madrid's Champions League loss to Chelsea and could pay the price, Predrag Mijatovic has warned.

Madrid were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea in the second leg on Wednesday as Timo Werner and Mason Mount secured a 3-1 aggregate win in the semi-final.

It could have been a far more convincing scoreline had the Blues been more clinical at Stamford Bridge, while Madrid, who had 68 per cent of the ball, had only one shot on target after the 36th minute.

With Sergio Ramos back but the likes of Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez injured, Zidane opted for a 3-4-3 system in which his players rarely looked comfortable.

Edouard Mendy made two good saves from Karim Benzema in the first half but the Chelsea goalkeeper was largely a spectator as he kept an eighth clean sheet in the competition this season, a record for a goalkeeper at an English club.

Madrid could still end the season by defending their league title – they trail leaders Atletico Madrid by just two points with four games left – but former Madrid striker Mijatovic fears the loss to Chelsea may inflict lasting damage.

"Chelsea were really superior in everything: intensity, rhythm, creating chances. We like Zidane and he's done many things, but he got everything wrong," he told Cadena Ser.

"This tie will do a lot of damage to Zidane. So did the previous year, although the league covered some things. Zidane has got a lot of things wrong and that resulted in Madrid's elimination.

"When they started the game and you saw they didn't want to change the picture, with poor Vinicius playing in a position that isn't his, Madrid did practically nothing.

"The team went out totally confused, without knowing what to do. We'll see what happens in LaLiga. The feelings you get from Madrid offer little to think the season will end well."

Former Madrid goalkeeper Santiago Canizares praised Mendy for his decisive saves from Benzema, which ensured Chelsea took a 1-0 lead into half-time.

"Chelsea are not just physical. They have really good tactics and a great attacking and defensive balance. They're a very tough nut to crack," he said.

"We didn't see phases of superiority from Madrid. The two chances Madrid had where from Benzema, but Mendy won the game."

Zidane guided Madrid to three consecutive Champions League triumphs from 2016 to 2018, but they lost at the last-16 stage in the previous two seasons before succumbing to Chelsea this time.

Midfielder Casemiro, who feels Madrid have been left with little in the tank after a challenging year with injuries, felt their defeat proved just what a remarkable run it was to win the tournament three years running.

"We were better in the first 25 minutes, we had two chances with Karim," he said. "Then they played better, they had more chances, but there's no turning back now, we have to think about LaLiga.

"I think Chelsea were superior and played better than us. After the year we've had with injuries, absences, COVID, without fans... we've tried. But they were better. We can't be sad now, we have to think about Sevilla [on Saturday].

"We showed that what we did was historic. It's not easy to win the Champions League. We showed again that it's not easy to win this."

This past year or so has done very little for our basic grasp of time.

Don't leave the house for a week, miss a couple of Zoom quizzes and what even are days?

Time and how easily or readily it passes depends on individual perception – our stresses, worries and hopes at that given moment.

Between Chelsea forward Kai Havertz hitting the Real Madrid crossbar in Wednesday's Champions league semi-final and the ball plopping down onto Timo Werner's head, a little under two seconds passed.

It's nothing really, but how they must have dragged for Werner. So many things to flash through his mind's eye. All soundtracked by a klaxon of "OH GOD, OH GOD, YOU CAN'T MISS… DON'T MISS! ARRRGGHHH!"

He might have thought of how coolly he linked with the effervescent N'Golo Kante in the build-up to Havertz's impudent dinked effort.

Kante negotiated Madrid's seasoned midfield with nimble precision and was one of Chelsea's many outstanding players on the night.

Casemiro and Toni Kroos will not want to think of the France international for some time after this, but the number seven on his blue shirt scampering around and away from them might be a hard image to shift.

Werner would create a glorious chance for Kante as only ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois prevented Madrid from collapsing in a heap after half-time. He has brought much more than unfortunate penalty box uncertainty to Chelsea, however much howling missed chances like his volley in the first leg linger in the collective consciousness.

The ex-RB Leipzig man has 12 goals and 10 assists this season, making him the first Chelsea player to record double figures for both since Eden Hazard in 2018-19.

"I'm sure I've seen him around here somewhere," Werner might have thought as he gazed up into the cool night sky.

Zinedine Zidane's selection of Hazard in his starting XI and decision to keep him on for 89 minutes had little logic beyond "it's a funny old game". The only thing coming back to haunt anyone right now is the Belgium playmaker's price tag and what Florentino Perez thinks is acceptable when faced with a chasm in the Madrid accounts.

Few players in full flight are as utterly joyous as Hazard, but that was the Chelsea Hazard. Fitness woes have turned his dream move into a nightmare. He failed to register a shot or create a chance for a team-mate during the first half on his old stomping ground.

There was a snapshot on the angle to test imperious Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in the 64th minute before Hazard returned to the margins.

Big-name signings have no guarantees, as Werner might have mulled as he positioned his forehead for the ball and a virtually unmissable chance. Oh, to be a striker in form.

That can be a different kind of burden, though.

“For people who like to watch football, Karim is a gift,” Zidane recently said of his talismanic striker Karim Benzema. "We enjoy him and so do his teammates. Karim makes the difference."

As much as it must be nice to have his team-mates enjoy him, Benzema must sometimes wish they'd join in. His lightning control and volley conjured an equaliser out of nothing at Valdebebas last week.

He almost did likewise at Stamford Bridge, producing a brilliant first touch and venomous shot from the edge of the box that Mendy saved superbly.

When Benzema escaped the attentions of Antoinio Rudiger and Thiago Silva before half-time to send a looping header towards the net, the Chelsea goalkeeper was again his equal. The same could not be said for anyone with whom he shares a dressing room.

Mason Mount was on hand to make sure of a 2-0 win and an all-English final against Manchester City five minutes from time. A lavishly gifted youngster putting Madrid out of their misery felt somewhat symbolic - Mount possessed of the verve and energy that this shell of the great side that won three consecutive Champions Leagues have long since left behind. Time waits for no one.

Just like their limp exits against Ajax and City in the past two seasons, this was meek. The only dazzle that remains comes from their famous white kits.

Back in the 28th minute, there was the dazzling white of the floodlights, the crossbar and the ball all in Werner's immediate view. It was time, his time – the easiest goal he will ever score and very possibly the most important.

Two seconds from the moment Havertz hit the crossbar. Eight days on from Werner's torment in Madrid. A whole, torrid season. However you frame it, it was worth the wait.

Chelsea reached the Champions League final after a 2-0 win over Real Madrid on Wednesday completed a 3-1 aggregate victory in the semi-final.

Thomas Tuchel's side will meet Manchester City in Istanbul after a fully deserved triumph at Stamford Bridge, secured through Timo Werner and Mason Mount.

The Germany international's first open-play goal in the competition since September 2019 put the Blues ahead before Mount converted from close range in the closing stages after the hosts had missed a plethora of second-half openings as they countered Madrid with ease.

Zinedine Zidane's men looked out of sorts in a makeshift 3-4-3, even with captain Sergio Ramos and former Chelsea star Eden Hazard back in the side, as their winless record against the Premier League club stretched to five matches.

Following a quiet start, Werner had the ball in the net after 18 minutes but the forward had strayed offside before meeting Ben Chilwell's low cross.

Madrid enjoyed 73 per cent of the possession in the first 25 minutes and Edouard Mendy made a brilliant one-handed save to keep out a shot from Karim Benzema on the turn.

Yet they went behind two minutes later. N'Golo Kante's superb turn of pace allowed him to set up Kai Havertz, and although his chip came off the crossbar, Werner was on hand to nod in the rebound.

Benzema was denied again by Mendy, this time from a close-range header, but Madrid struggled to create opportunities despite their dominance of the ball.

Havertz again struck the woodwork with a powerful header just after the restart, but this time Thibaut Courtois breathed a sigh of relief as the ball bounced over and behind.

Mount wasted a glorious chance, driving at Courtois but blasting his finish over, and Havertz was denied by the goalkeeper's leg when through following a simple ball over the top.

Kante also wasted a good opening before Mount at last killed the contest, steering into the net from Christian Pulisic's cut-back after Madrid lost possession in their own half.

What does it mean? Chelsea to battle City second all-English final in three seasons

Madrid had never beaten Chelsea in four previous European meetings coming into this match and had not won in four consecutive away games against English sides in the competition.

It seemed the omens had weighed on the visitors as they failed to create anything meaningful beyond the first-half openings for Benzema, with the players looking uncomfortable in Zidane's system.

Chelsea, by contrast, were diligent and energetic and fully deserved to reach a third Champions League final.

No messing from Mendy

Mendy made four saves as Chelsea faced four shots on target in the first half of a Champions League game for the first time since October 2017 against Roma.

His two from Benzema were exceptional and helped to put his side in a commanding position at the break – one they did not relinquish.

Zidane loses Midas touch

Zidane guided Madrid to three consecutive trophies in this competition and oversaw an impressive defeat of Liverpool in the previous round.

However, his back-three set-up here, somewhat enforced by injury problems, was vulnerable to Chelsea's breaks throughout and seemed to stifle Hazard, Benzema and Vinicius Junior.

What's next?

Chelsea face something of a warm-up act for the final when they meet Pep Guardiola's City in the Premier League on Saturday. Madrid's LaLiga title battle resumes against fellow contenders Sevilla.

Eden Hazard and Sergio Ramos were named in the Real Madrid starting line-up to face Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final second leg.

Belgium star Hazard was only involved as a second-half substitute during the 1-1 draw with his former club in the first leg in Spain.

The 30-year-old has only started nine games in all competitions in a season impacted by a succession of injuries and a positive test for coronavirus.

Madrid captain Ramos, who has not played since sustaining a calf injury during the March international break, was chosen to partner Eder Militao at the heart of defence as the injured Raphael Varane missed out. Ferland Mendy returned at left-back, with Nacho Fernandez on the right of the defence.

Hazard was joined in attack by Karim Benzema, who scored Madrid's equaliser in the first leg, and Vinicius Junior in front of the traditional midfield trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro.

Chelsea chose Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in attack, supported by Mason Mount, as head coach Thomas Tuchel selected an apparent 3-4-3 system.

Christian Pulisic had to be content with a place on the bench despite opening the scoring in the tie.

Madrid have not beaten Chelsea in four previous European matches.

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos expects head coach Zinedine Zidane to remain at the helm beyond this season.

After winning LaLiga last season, Madrid are firmly in contention for more silverware this term although nothing is guaranteed at this stage.

Madrid are two points behind leaders and neighbours Atletico Madrid with four games remaining in LaLiga, while Los Blancos are competing in Champions League semi-finals.

Speaking ahead of Madrid's Champions League semi-final second leg away to Chelsea, after the opening fixture finished 1-1, Kroos was asked about Zidane.

"I think he'll be our coach next season," Kroos said with a laugh during his news conference. "He has a contract."

Kroos was bullish about Madrid's chances against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, despite not getting the favourable result in the first leg.

"We are strong defensively and that's important when it comes to getting through a tie like this one and against opponents like Chelsea," the German said.

"We want to create more chances than the first leg. We are capable of progressing and we are going to prepare properly the game, but we have to create a bit more than we did in the first leg."

Former Chelsea star Eden Hazard is available for Madrid and he looms large despite failing to make a major impact in the Spanish capital this season.

"We know what a good player he can be, Eden," Kroos said. "A shame that he hasn't been available in the last few months because of injuries.

"However, he's now doing better, which is so important for him for being at his best. He's a player who has a lot to help us.

"I don't know exactly how he is doing as he's only started one game but he's always a threat to opposition defences. It doesn't matter how much he'll play, it doesn't depend on me, I just hope he can help us."

Pep Guardiola lauded Riyad Mahrez's appetite for the big occasion after the Manchester City winger's brace secured a 2-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain and a place in the Champions League final.

Mahrez's free-kick sealed a 2-1 win at Parc des Princes in last week's first leg and he netted a goal in each half on Tuesday to close out a 4-1 aggregate triumph.

The former Leicester City favourite has found the going tough at times since joining City in 2018 but he is now a go-to pick for Guardiola, his four goals and two assists in this season's competition putting the club one game away from elusive Champions League glory.

"Riyad is an extraordinary player – big talent, huge quality, especially in the big games he is always ready," City manager Guardiola told a post-match news conference.

"We know his quality quite well. He is a fantastic player.

"The players in these stages are judged how they behave in the biggest scenarios, the big tests.

"He loves it and enjoys it. He made a good goal, the first one with right foot and the finish for the second. Three goals over the tie, he deserves big compliments.

Fernandinho was a surprise selection on his 36th birthday, but Guardiola felt the club captain excelled.

"Especially in the second half he was incredible," said Guardiola. "We adjusted a little bit [at half-time] to support John [Stones] and Ruben [Dias].

"He was so good, really, really good. It was his birthday, a big present. He has been an extraordinary captain this season, leading us in bad moments and he played really well."

Guardiola conceded it was strange to play such a key game behind closed doors, even if that has now been a reality of the coronavirus pandemic for almost a year.

Before the match, a group of City fans – some with flares – gathered to welcome the team bus to the ground.

"I have to say it was socially distanced but we loved it," Guardiola said. "It's nice to be in a final but we missed them."

"Of course, it was so weird playing the semi-final of the Champions League in empty stadium.

"The club belongs to the people, that's for sure. We are here for a period but the fans always stay. I am pretty sure they are so proud."

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo said while now is not the time to decide what is next for Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, he is "optimistic for the future".

Neymar was unable to lead a comeback on Tuesday as Mbappe watched from the sidelines – PSG beaten 2-0 by Manchester City, who progressed to the Champions League final 4-1 on aggregate.

Last season's runners-up PSG failed to land a single shot on target against City – the first time the French side have failed to do so in a Champions League game since 2003-04.

After falling short of the Istanbul showpiece, attention immediately turned to the futures of star duo Neymar and Mbappe, who are both out of contract in 2022 amid ongoing speculation.

Neymar has previously said "everything is almost settled" in regard to a PSG contract renewal though he continues to be linked with a Barcelona return, while Mbappe has been tipped to join Real Madrid.

"Honestly, now is not the time to decide or announce anything," Leonardo told RMC Sport. "We must be proud of what we have done.

"Our goal is to win. We played better in two out of four halves, we scored weird goals. There are a lot of positive things.

"We got out of very difficult situations during the competition. I'm optimistic for the future."

Riyad Mahrez scored twice for hosts City in Manchester, where PSG star Angel Di Maria was sent off for kicking out at Fernandinho with 21 minutes remaining.

PSG – who will now turn their attention to defending their Ligue 1 crown – were hoping to reach back-to-back finals, but Leonardo added: "We cannot forget what we have done over the past two years. We reached the final and lost 1-0 against a team that won everything. This year, we eliminated Barca and Bayern.

"The objective is always to win. Our form has made us a real candidate to win the Champions League. We must continue. It has been a very complicated year. We must be satisfied."

PSG pair Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera both accused referee Bjorn Kuipers of insulting them on Tuesday.

Verratti and Herrera reacted angrily to the decision to send off Di Maria as PSG became just the third team to receive a red card in both legs of a Champions League semi-final after Deportivo La Coruna-Porto (2003-04) and Lyon-Bayern Munich (2009-10).

"The referee told me 'f*** you' twice," Verratti told RMC Sport post-match. "If I do that, I get a 10-man ban. Of course I talk a lot with the referee, but I never say f*** you."

Herrera added: "We talk about respect with the referees. The referee tonight said f*** off to [PSG midfielder] Leandro Paredes. If we say that, we get a three or four-match ban."

On the incident, Leonardo said: "We talked about that. It's so clear that I don't even comment. It's a shame. I think there were a lot of situations that weren't possible - not being well managed."

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