Same problems for Chelsea as they suffer Champions League exit to Real Madrid

Chelsea went out of the Champions League with a whimper rather than a bang, failing to score for the fifth time in the past six games as Real Madrid brushed them aside with ease.

Rodrygo scored two second-half goals to set up a semi-final against either Manchester City or Bayern Munich, who trail 3-0 from the first leg, and fully deserve to go through.

Madrid were superior from start to finish, with the outstanding Luka Modric orchestrating their play from midfield brilliantly. Even at the age of 37 the Croatian was by some margin the best player on the pitch, and for all the £600 million or so that Chelsea have spent in the past year, they have got no-one close to the level of Modric.

Frank Lampard said beforehand he wanted to summon the spirit of 2012, when the Chelsea side he played in overcame the odds to beat Barcelona in the semi-finals and then Bayern on their own turf in the final, but the new caretaker manager does not have anyone in his team to match those players who became European Champions a decade ago.

Reece James was their most dangerous attacking threat, but the England full-back pulled up with an injury shortly before half-time and was not the same afterwards. He had set up first-half chances for N’Golo Kante, who volleyed wide from 12 yards, and for Marc Cucurella, whose shot from even closer range was saved by Thibaut Courtois.

The former Chelsea keeper was given constant abuse by fans of the side he left four years ago, but he had the last laugh as Madrid cruised to yet another confortable victory.

Rodrygo hit the woodwork in the first-half, and Modric had a fierce shot saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga, before the Brazilian put Madrid ahead in the 58th minute.

Eder Militao’s defence-splitting pass sent Rodrygo away on the right, he sprinted past Trevoh Chalobah before cuting a low cross to the far post. Vinicius Junior calmly returned the ball to him and Rodrygo had a simple finish from close range.

It was even easier in the 80th minute when Federico Valverde ran on to long ball forward and rolled it across goal for Rodrygo to roll into an empty net. It was game over, and Chelsea’s fans knew it as they streamed out of Stamford Bridge long before the final whistle.

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With their side in the bottom half of the Premier League and now out of Europe, their end of season cannot come soon enough.

But Real Madrid roll on, and yet another semi-final awaits.

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