Ex-Chelsea stopper Thibaut Courtois has already warned that the ‘pressure’ of the Santiago Bernabeu could see Real Madrid be handed a major advantage over his former side. The Blues are set to travel to Spain on Tuesday evening as they aim to overturn a quarter-final deficit.
The La Liga giants ran out 3-1 winners at Stamford Bridge last week, Karim Benzema netting a hat-trick, with Kai Havertz the only man to find the net for Chelsea. It will certainly be a tough mountain for the Blues to climb in Madrid as they aim to retain the European crown they claimed in Porto last term.
It is set to be even more tricky, too, with the west Londoners facing a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time in their history. The Blues of course travelled to Madrid last season but only came together at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, with Los Blancos’ usual home undergoing renovation works amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
One man who is certainly used to the historic arena is former Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois, having been the club’s No. 1 between the sticks since his 2018 move from Stamford Bridge. The Belgian has already hailed the Bernabeu’s ‘pressure’ and suggested that it gives the host - as well as himself personally - more motivation.
Speaking in 2019, he said: "It's very nice, it's a dream to be able to play in a big stadium, when I'm in the goal and I see the Bernabeu from there it's very beautiful. It gives more adrenaline, more desire to play well, it's pressure too but I like to play like that.”
Carlo Ancelotti ’s men have been impressive at the Bernabeu once again this season having only lost two matches at home in all competitions. The first came in a shock defeat against Sheriff back in September - the visitors running out 2-1 victors.
The Spaniards' most recent defeat on home soil came very recently though in a 4-0 thumping at the hands of El Classico rivals Barcelona. Former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted twice that evening, with Chelsea transfer targets Ronald Araujo and Ousmane Dembele also finding the net for the Catalans.