Croatia player Mateo Kovacic won’t be available for the second leg of the Champions League last four tie with former club Real Madrid after failing to recover from the hamstring problem that has plagued him for several weeks.


His absence for the Real Madrid game for a second time was confirmed by Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday ahead of the second meeting with Spanish champions Real Madrid within the space of eight days.

Croatia national team midfielder Kovacic had missed the first leg at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium in Madrid last week Tuesday. He was absent as his Chelsea team secured a crucial away goal at the expense of the home team. American international Christian Pulisic scored the away goal on 15 minutes before in-form Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema levelled matters for the Spaniards just before the half hour mark. The two teams had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

The result from the first leg means that Real Madrid will have to score if they want to progress to face already qualified Manchester City in the final of the competition at the end of this month. A goalless draw would be enough for Chelsea to make it an all-English affair for the second time in three Champions League finals.

Croatia player Kovacic has not played for Chelsea since the 4-1 win at Crystal Palace in the derby last month and he will have to watch for the sidelines with the hope that his teammates get the job done.

Ahead of the game, Real Madrid have been boosted with the return to fitness of first team players like FerlandMendy and club captain Sergio Ramos. They are both in the squad for the game at Stamford Bridge. Uruguay midfielder FedericoValverde has also recovered from Covid-19 to take his place in the team.