Real Madrid vs. Inter Milan: 5 key players to watch in the Champions League

Eden Hazard of Real Madrid (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Eden Hazard of Real Madrid (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos
Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images) /

CB Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos is always crucial to Real’s success, but he becomes especially important to Los Blancos in the biggest Champions League games. Without Ramos, Real have a poor record in Europe’s marquee competition, and Madridistas certainly saw that a couple of weeks ago when the team lost 3-2 to Shakhtar Donetsk without the No. 4 available.

Real Madrid may not have to face Inter’s best player, Romelu Lukaku, but if they do, Ramos’ importance is magnified. Lukaku means so much to Inter, as the Serie A side lost to Parma without him in the most recent game. The Belgian striker is one of the most difficult players in world football to mark, because he knows exactly where to go and exactly how to create chances without even touching the ball.

LB Ferland Mendy

Ferland Mendy played on the right side of the defense for Real Madrid against Huesca after Lucas Vazquez’s apparent injury. It seems like Vazquez could play on Tuesday night at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, but if he can’t, Real may have to play Mendy on the right.

No matter what, Mendy is starting, whether it’s on his preferred left side or on the right. Mendy was quietly good against Huesca off the bench on the right, winning four dribbles and completing about 95 percent of his passes.

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He is one of the best left backs in world football and an important piece of the puzzle for Zinedine Zidane. The 25-year-old has been excellent since joining Los Merengues last summer from Lyon, and his defensive quality will matter a lot against Inter, who boast former Madrid right wing back Achraf Hakimi. He has been arguably Inter’s second-most important player behind Lukaku already. Mendy will need to be at his best on Tuesday.