Real Madrid vs. Chelsea Combined XI for Champions League semifinals

Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Toni Kroos
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid CM Toni Kroos

Nobody is putting up better passing numbers right now than Toni Kroos, who has blown everyone else out of the water in the Champions League with his chance-creation and passes into the final third. Kroos is an untouchable, press-resistant midfielder who can accurately hit any kind of pass, no matter the range. He has more ball switches than any player in Europe’s big five, and his close control overcomes his lack of agility in one-on-ones.

There will be an abundance of talent in the midfield in this match, so there are going to be a lot of great players like Jorginho who will miss the cut. But out of all the great midfielders, Kroos is having the best season.

Real Madrid DM Casemiro

Casemiro is the best defensive midfielder in the world and has to make it in over Jorginho in the middle of this three-man midfield. Jorginho is in great form and is almost as good as Kroos in terms of controlling games with passing accuracy and composure, but he just doesn’t offer the same attacking threat as Kroos. And defensively, he’s not close to the level of Casemiro’s robustness, even if he is also a good reader of the game.

The Brazilian has helped Real’s attack, too. He assisted for Karim Benzema in last week’s 3-0 win over Cadiz, and he’s also scored five goals in La Liga.

Real Madrid CM Luka Modric

Although Mason Mount has been exceptional this season with 2.4 key passes per game, according to and 10 total goal contributions in the Premier League for the Blues, I just cannot bring myself to pick against Luka Modric.

Even if Modric is not at his full best due to a back issue, he is the man. He is one of the best midfielders in history and the best of his generation. This season, he has been one of the elites, arguably top three alongside Toni Kroos and Kevin de Bruyne.

Mount has been Chelsea’s best player and is a creative nightmare. He will cause problems for Real Madrid in transition if they do not keep a close eye on him. But Modric’s all-around class makes him an entirely different caliber of player.

And, of course, N’Golo Kante is another spectacular Chelsea player who cannot make the cut in midfield, all because Real’s midfield trio is literally the best of the last five years– bar none.