Karim Benzema requested Reece James’ shirt after Real Madrid knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League
Posted by  badge Boss on Apr 13
Karim Benzema made a beeline for Reece James after Chelsea’s defeat to Real Madrid (BT Sport)

Even Karim Benzema recognised Reece James’ impressive performance at the Bernabeu as the striker went out of his way to swap shirts with the defender after their thrilling clash on Tuesday evening.

wrote off Chelsea’s hopes of reaching the Champions League semi-final after their 3-1 defeat in the first leg at Stamford Bridge last week.

But goals Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner gave Chelsea the three-goal advantage they needed with 15 minutes remaining at the Bernabeu.

However, a brilliant pass from Luka Modric set up Rodrygo’s goal to force extra time before Karim Benzema’s header dumped the Champions League holders out of the competition.

James, meanwhile, received widespread praise for his performance at the Bernabeu as he kept both Vinicius Jr. and Ferland Mendy quiet on Madrid’s left flank.

And Benzema was clearly impressed with James’ display as he made a for James before the Chelsea defender disappeared down the tunnel.

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel praised his players for their performance against Carlo Ancelotti’s side in the return leg.

‘The players lived up to the plan in a very different way than we did against Brentford and in the first leg,’ said the Chelsea manager.

‘We were never shy of making the point that the most important thing is how we live up to a tactic, and how lively we play in a structure. It was to the full limit tonight. The credit goes to the players.

‘We were very disciplined on the ball, and very active off the ball. We showed a lot of courage, and from there we showed the quality. It was the right way to do it.

‘I am very happy. This is the way to go forward. If we have this kind of effort we are a special team, and if not we can lose against anybody. They showed a lot of character. We can be very proud.’

.

 and .