OPINION: Frank Lampard should start this star against defending Champions Real Madrid

Frank Lampard‘s baptism of fire since resuming leadership of Chelsea will continue on Wednesday evening with a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu, maybe the most difficult trip in world football.

The former midfielder was brought in to shore up a sinking ship, not to win the Champions League.

 However, a respectable effort against Real Madrid this evening is required.

Their preparation, a 1-0 defeat to Wolves, does not bode well, but stranger things have transpired on the continent’s largest stage.

OPINION: Frank Lampard should start this star against defending Champions Real Madrid
OPINION: Frank Lampard should start this star against defending Champions Real Madrid

Fortunately, Lampard has already had some good fortune in the build-up, with N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, and Thiago Silva all set to return to the starting XI.

It would not be surprising to see all of them released at Madrid, especially given their recent poor defensive performances.

In his pre-match press conference, the Blues icon said of the aforementioned trio:

“They’re all fit, they’re all in the squad. They are good and they’re here.”

That will be music to the ears of those affiliated with the Stamford Bridge outfit, as their chances will only improve with a larger group to draw from.

Silva’s return is especially appropriate, as the legendary Brazilian is due to face a Ballon d’Or winner in Karim Benzema.

With 25 goals in 32 games this season, the French striker is absolutely amazing.

That is a record that would scare many defenders, but not Chelsea’s victorious £110k-per-week defender.

Indeed, if any centre-back is capable of dealing with such a lethal threat, it is a man who has won 30 team trophies.

OPINION: Frank Lampard should start this star against defending Champions Real Madrid
OPINION: Frank Lampard should start this star against defending Champions Real Madrid

The 38-year-old, dubbed “the best defender in the world” by Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, is colossal at the back and shows no signs of slowing down despite his age.

That’s why his current injury absence has been so painful.

The former PSG man may not have the speed to burn anymore, but his game reading and composure are second to none.

 As a result, he ranks among the top 6% of European defenders in pass completion and among the top 13% in percentage of dribblers tackled per 90 minutes.

That kind of talent will be essential over two legs against Real Madrid, with stopping the effervescent combo of Benzema and Vinicius Jr a key.

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OPINION: Frank Lampard should start this star against defending Champions Real Madrid