Eden Hazard has not made the trip due to recent surgery and Carlo Ancelotti’s place in the dug-out tomorrow is uncertain due to Covid, but one of Real Madrid’s former Blues was at Stamford Bridge on the eve of our Champions League match, their current goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who conducted media conference duties.

The Belgian, who is now 29 years old, was part of our squad between 2014 and 2018 before departing for Spain. He was back in west London last season when Chelsea defeated Real in the semi-finals but that was behind closed doors. Among the questions he faced ahead of tomorrow’s quarter-final first leg was on how he feels about some of the fans, who this time will be inside the Bridge, not necessarily being pleased to see him again.‘That is in the past now,’ Courtois responded.‘I played here for four years and won two league titles and two cups so I only have good memories of my time here. Maybe my departure was less pleasant but it is always difficult to leave. We will see tomorrow but I am here as a Real Madrid player to win and to help the team get through to the semi-finals.’

Moving on to look at today’s Chelsea, Courtois reflected on the ownership change and his hopes for his former club.‘It's been a hard month for the club and for the fans and obviously the players, but I think you can see that all the people that love Chelsea, they're really putting all their energy together so that the new owners, they know what club they're buying, with what fans, and that they keep that blue spirit.

‘In total I was part of Chelsea for seven years and that's a big part even though they gave me a chance to be loaned out to Atletico, they gave me the chance to grow myself, they give me a chance to come back and be with Petr Cech also, so I learned from him and won two Premier Leagues.

‘I’m always happy to come back here and I hope that the new owners they understand what club they're buying, and that Chelsea can keep being one of the best in the world.’

Courtois was also asked about our centre-forward Romelu Lukaku, a player he knows very well from their many times together playing for Belgium.

‘Romelu is a really great striker,’ he praised. ‘It's a bit strange to see him not play so much lately, but he's a guy with enormous quality. He finds the goal really easily. Obviously there's other great strikers at Chelsea so I understand it's not always easy and if the team keeps winning, the manager keeps playing the same players. But I'm sure he will go through it.

‘Sometimes you just need a little adaptation. I had the same in Madrid, the first year wasn’t easy. You change tactics, you change team, you change trainers so you need to adapt again to everything and I'm sure he will be good, but I hope it is not tomorrow. He can wait one more week!’