Football

Chelsea capable of Champions League glory

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As usual, UEFA's General Secretary, Gianni Infantino, unnecessarily prolonged the duration of the semi-finals draw for UEFA's two flagship competitions, the Europa League and the Champions League.

Once the draw for the Europa League was completed - suited with an intriguing tie between Benfica and Juventus - the anticipation peaked once again as the famed Champions League hymne took centre stage.

First, Infantino paired Real Madrid with reigning champions Bayern Munich before Luis Figo, the Champions League ambassador, ensured a semi-final clash between high-flying Atletico Madrid and Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.

Despite the undoubted strengths of this powerful Atletico side, it was probably the outcome Mourinho had preferred. In avoiding the powerhouses of Bayern and Real, a final at Lisbon, a short drive away from Mourinho's hometown of Setubal, is looking a much more viable option for the Blues.

Yet, Bayern and Real are beatable, no one more suited to inflicting defeat upon the European giants than Mourinho. Both sides are rich in attacking talent with Toni Kroos, Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale just to name a few. But, typically with teams studded with technically, and supremely, gifted individuals, they have a propensity to avoid doing the dirty work.

Pep Guardiola's Bavarians were rattled at Old Trafford in their quarter-final first-leg while Real almost came unstuck in Dortmund, progressing anxiously. They have their flaws, and who more to exploit them more proficiently than Mourinho?

Lifting aloft the Champions League trophy in the back-drop of Lisbon's monumental Jeronimos Monastery with a well-documented shortage of goal-scoring strikers would undoubtedly rank as Mourinho's most incredible achievement in his illustrious managing career.

Although not the favourites, Chelsea possess the required defensive and offensive traits to triumph again, two years after that great night in Munich. They emerged from their memorable victory over Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday evening looking a side Mourinho had imposed himself on, equally adept at attacking and defending,  menacing with every venture forward whilst restricting the glided trident of Cavani, Lavezzi and Lucas Moura sufficiently.

However, Atletico Madrid will provide a stern examination, as they've already proven. Their remarkable dismantling of the once supposedly invincible Barcelona team was evidence of the quality, work ethic and belief Diego Simeone has instilled into his players, advancing through Koke's lone strike at the Vincente Calderon stadium. Barca's star has dimmed but Atletico's are shining brighter than ever.

Their core of young, promising talent has been pivotal to their unexpected success this season, mounting a dogged challenge for the Spanish La Liga title and booking their place among Europe's elite. The likes of Koke, Diego Costa and on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois have flourished in the Rojiblanco half of Madrid and the Belgian was a doubt to play in the semi-final.

The Belgian should be permitted to face his parent club, with UEFA laws refreshingly divergent from those of the Premier League. However, cash-strapped Atletico would be forced to pay a reported £5m under terms of the loan deal before UEFA intervened, clearing the young keeper to feature.

Once beyond the strong challenge posed by Atletico, Mourinho has it in him to mastermind the downfall of either Bayern or Real Madrid at Benfica's Estadio da Luz stadium in May. He will surely extract encouragement from August's Super Cup, where 10-men Chelsea seriously troubled Bayern, with the Bavarians drawing level through Javi Martinez in the dying seconds of extra-time before Romelu Lukaku's unfortunate penalty woe.

Were Real to eliminate the all-conquering Bayern, it would be a final Mourinho would relish. He would call upon his three years at Real Madrid, along with his general wisdom and priceless experience, to win his first Champions League for his beloved Chelsea, in the back-drop of the Jeronimos Monastery.

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Topics:
Chelsea
Football
UEFA Champions League

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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