CHELSEA were kicked out of the Champions League and their season effectively ended at the hands of 14-time winners Real Madrid.
The Blues again lamented the lack of a true No.9 as they got into some dangerous positions – but had nobody to put the ball in the net.
However, Real had Rodrygo who eventually turned home after 58 minutes to effectively shatter any faint hopes of a Madrid-style comeback.
With ten minutes remaining, Los Blancos turned up the style to wallow through Chelsea’s defense when Fede Valverde placed the ball on a plate for Rodrygo to tap.
Here’s how SunSport’s Joshua Jones rated Frank Lampard’s men…
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6
This man had to be in top form if Chelsea was to have any chance of progressing – luckily until the early take with a few clever if relatively routine stops.
No chance with the first goal and must have been shocked when Karim Benzema passed a good chance straight to him for an easy pick up.
Was suspended again for the second as Real wrapped it up.
Wesley Fofana – 7
Worked brilliantly to save Vinicius at the back post just in time when he seemed sure of a goal.
Along with Reece, James helped keep the left winger relatively calm after his field day at the Bernabeu six days ago but was embroiled in a minor mix-up for the second.
Most read in the Champions League
Thiago Silva – 7
Maybe he’ll be 40 next year, but he’s still a total Rolls-Royce from behind, right? From keeping up with Fede Valverde on the counter to his perfect positioning,
Kept English clubs’ nemesis Benzema so calm for a full 70 minutes that Carlo Ancelotti knocked out his superstar striker – much to the Frenchman’s displeasure.
Trevo Chalobah – 4
Gave way too much space for Rodrygo by pulling away from him – only for the winger to fire a fierce shot against the post.
Walked in on the same man on the touchline but completely missed man and ball – then it was more about who than if Real scored. Answer: Rodrygo.
Made a strong recovery tackle late on.
Reece James – 5
Didn’t look as good as usual – even appeared to be taking some sort of pill midway through the first half – and moved rather laboriously but still posed a threat with his nasty deliveries.
Yellow card early in the second half for a serious foul on Eduardo Camavinga’s ankle and unable to reach Real left-back.
N’Golo Kante – 5
Had the perfect chance to blow the roof off a rocking Stamford Bridge but loosened his lines with a glorious chance in ten minutes – right place, wrong man.
Incredibly, it was a case of copy and paste seven minutes after the break as Gallagher nodded to the Frenchman to fire at the spin from six yards out, but lacked conviction and was deflected wide.
Enzo Fernandez – 6
Pitiful delivery from a dangerous free-kick position that inexplicably hit the first man and then fired a long-range shot just off target.
Obviously an exceptionally talented midfielder but struggling to make as much impact as he would have liked.
Although he did force Courtois into an intelligent low stop – the Belgian was the only save of note – before leaving as Chelsea were scrambling for goals.
Mateo Kovacic – 5
Always happy to get the ball, even when swarms of white shirts rush towards him.
But as expected when the line-up was announced, he was never a realistic goalscoring threat on a night when Chelsea simply needed to score at least two goals.
Marc Cucurella – 4
Rodrygo was cynically brought down trying to launch a counterattack through the middle and was rightly booked, leading him to walk a tightrope.
He had a wonderful chance just before half-time to put the Blues ahead, but his powerful shot from an angle was brilliantly blocked by pantomime villain Courtois.
Conor Gallagher – 3
In view of the task ahead, a surprising inclusion in the starting eleven, used behind Havertz.
Chelsea could have had first if he hadn’t missed a key pass in the opening minutes before failing to save a header despite the flag going up.
Gave the ball away too much and offered little. Stripped while Chelsea watched the game.
Kai Havertz – 4
He usually appears in the big Champions League games, but not today.
Barely got anything from Real Madrid defenders all night and got no scraps to eat, leading to desperate appeals for a penalty that fell on deaf ears.
Joao Felix (for Gallagher, 67 mins) – 6
A bit of quality from the off and some support from Havertz.
Raheem Sterling (for Fernandez, 67 mins) – 5
Didn’t do much after a jinking run once it came.
Mykhailo Mudryk (for Cucurella, 67 mins) – 5th
Technically deployed as a left-back and helping Chalobah with crucial defensive work to stop Vinicius.
Flashes of good and evil – a thrilling run ended twice in horrific finishes. Booked.
Mason Mount (for Havertz, 77 mins) – 5
Barely involved when Real Madrid saw the win.