It’s probably fair to say that not a lot of people were predicting what would happen at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.
However, just as they were on the weekend against Brentford, Chelsea were on the wrong end of a bad result in front of their home fans.
Real Madrid’s 3-1 win, courtesy of a hat-trick from Karim Benzema, has put the Spanish side in command of the Champions League quarter-final, with Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel saying that he thinks the tie is already dead.
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But to get more reaction we contacted Felix Martin from Eurosport Spain, to get his views on a massive night for Madrid.

Were you surprised by the result?

Looking at the line-ups it seemed that Real manager Carlo Ancelotti was looking to keep things tight, and maybe nick a narrow win or draw. The Italian opted to field Federico Valverde as an extra midfielder rather than use either Marco Asensio or Rodrygo.
“I agree,” says Martin when asked about the line-up. “When I saw the starting line up with four midfielders I thought that Ancelotti was planning to play very defensively, the same way he did in Paris.
“But to be honest the fact that Real played so bravely and offensively surprised me a lot.
The truth is that Real played the best first half of their season so far and a brilliant match in general terms.

Did any of Chelsea's players surprise you in a good or bad way?

“I told you before the match that Vinicius is a nightmare for every full-back he faces,” recalls Martin.
“And even though Tuchel played a defence of three with a right wing-back (I guess that he did this to stop him), Andreas Christensen seemed to have suffered a lot yesterday against Vinicius.

Edouard Mendy of Chelsea looks dejected during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One match between Chelsea FC and Real Madrid

Image credit: Getty Images

“And even though the Brazilian didn't play a great match, he gave an important assist to Benzema for the first goal.
“And obviously there’s Edouard Mendy. He is supposed to be among the best five goalkeepers in the world and he proved yesterday that he is very far right now from, for example, Courtois, Oblak or Ter Stegen.
“Benzema's headers were brilliant, but he seemed to be a bit slow. And the mistake he made on the third goal is quite disappointing bearing in mind the importance of the match.
“And the same way that Christensen was maybe the negative part, Reece James played, to me, a great match. He's a very smart player, he knows when to attack, he has a great long shot and he felt quite physical when defending. So yes, he was a very positive surprise.”

What about Benzema?

Let’s talk about Benzema though. Former Manchester City and England defender Micah Richards raised a few eyebrows with his comments about the France international after the win against PSG in Madrid but as far as Martin is concerned Benzema is on a different level to pretty much anyone in the world.
“He was as brilliant as he was against PSG; both matches were really important, and he proved to the world that he's ready to win the Ballon d'Or.
“Scoring two straight hat-tricks against a giant like PSG and the current champion (Chelsea), is something that only a few geniuses can do.”

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid looks on during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One match between Chelsea FC and Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge on April 06, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Image credit: Getty Images

We asked Martin whether he thinks Benzema is the best striker in the world right now.
“Probably yes,” came the reply. “Or at least one of the strikers with the most capacity to change the nature of every game. But he's definitely sharing that honour with players like Kylian Mbappé or Robert Lewandowski.”
So where does he rank in terms of Real’s all-time strikers?
“Well if you’re speaking objectively, he's Real's third top scorer of all time behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Raúl.
“He's ahead of other legends like Di Stéfano or Santillana.
“And this is extra impressive, because Benzema played a big part of his career alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. And we all know that Ronaldo 'cannibalised' the goal opportunities while Benzema was responsible for creating them.”

And apart from Benzema who was Real’s standout performer?

Martin’s colleague, Adrian Garcia, is quick to jump in. “The best once again, was Thibaut Courtous. Benzema is on the back pages but currently Courtois is the best goalkeeper in the world.”
Martin echoes those thoughts.
“As Adrián said, Courtois played a very important role during the match as well. He made an outstanding save to a shot from Azpilicueta that was decisive. And, to me, Alaba and Casemiro played an unbelievable match as well.”
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