Real Madrid would miss coach Carlo Ancelotti for the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea due to COVID-19.
Ancelotti tested positive for coronavirus last week and did not travel to London with the rest of the squad on Tuesday.
There’s still a chance he could make it in time for Wednesday’s game if he tests negative. The Italian did not appear in the previous press conference.
“It’s something that affects, but today you can do your job thanks to new technologies,” said Thomas Tuchel, the Chelsea manager. “It is true that the best thing is in person. I hope he can be there tomorrow and I understand that he wants to be there”.
Ancelotti was unable to be on the touchline during Madrid’s 2-1 win over Celta de Vigo in the Spanish league last Saturday, when assistant Davide Ancelotti, his son, was in charge.
Ancelotti, who has suffered minor symptoms of COVID-19, is trying to win his second Champions League with Madrid. He lifted the European Cup with the meringues in 2014.
“We are lucky that the second is his son, in the end he is very similar,” said Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. “We know very well how he wants us to train, there is a great coaching staff, he has participated in talks by video call”.
Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy, who reappeared on Saturday after recovering from injuries, trained normally prior to the expedition to England.
Madrid were eliminated by Chelsea, the eventual champions, in last year’s semi-finals.
Ancelotti was Chelsea manager for two years before his first spell with Madrid in 2013. The Spanish club had Zinedine Zidane in the semi-finals last year.
“Last year’s tie was different, without fans, it was in the semi-finals, later on,” said Courtois. “This is a new season, it is the first leg of the quarterfinals, we are all very well and we know what we are risking. With the right intensity, we can win.”
Ancelotti has come under fire in Spain after a humiliating 4-0 loss to Barcelona at home last month, when he backfired with a series of tactical modifications.
With Benzema ruled out due to injury, Ancelotti decided that Luka Modric would play as a false nine instead of playing a natural striker. The variant did not work and Barcelona dazzled to emerge victorious in the visit to the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
The long-suffering victory against Celta — with two penalties taken by Benzema — keeps Madrid with a 12-point lead over Barcelona heading into the final stretch of the season. The Catalan club has a pending match.
Ancelotti’s first spell with Madrid ended amid criticism that he did not rotate his squad enough, leading to injuries and a decline in performance late in the season.
Benzema and Toni Kroos are among the players who have missed games due to injuries recently.
Prior to the defeat in the classic against Barcelona, Madrid had chained five victories in all competitions, including 3-1 against Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of the Champions League, reversing a 1-0 loss in the first leg.
Madrid will appear in London with a streak of five games without winning against English clubs, with three defeats.
The winner of the tie between Madrid and Chelsea will meet either Manchester City or Atlético de Madrid in the semi-finals.