...By Henry George for TDPel Media.
Nathan Ake, a Dutch professional footballer, has played an important role for Manchester City this season.
Despite previous struggles with regular game time, he has established himself as a mainstay in the team and has made 30 starts across all competitions this season.
He ousted Aymeric Laporte for a starting berth in City’s three-man backline alongside Ruben Dias and Manuel Akanji.
Chelsea had expressed interest in signing Ake in the summer, but he stayed with Manchester City.
However, Ake, who had only recently returned from a hamstring injury, was forced off during City’s 2-1 win over Leeds on Saturday.
Kyle Walker was quickly called upon to replace him, and it is likely that Walker will do so again in the upcoming match inside Santiago Bernabeu.
Pep Guardiola, City’s manager, has been pursuing the Champions League, the one trophy that has eluded him at City thus far.
On the other side, Real Madrid has been boosted by the fitness of Luka Modric, who will be available to play after recovering from a recent knock.
Madrid is a formidable opponent, and the match is expected to be intense.
The absence of Ake could be a concern for Manchester City, but Guardiola has a strong squad to choose from and will be hoping to secure a positive result in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.