Chelsea are the dark horses of this year's Champions League, says Gaizka Mendieta
Gaizka Mendieta reckons 'solid' Chelsea could be surprise Champions League finalists.
Last Updated: 20/03/14 6:40am
Jose Mourinho's side came out 2-0 winners at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, sealing a 3-1 aggregate win over Turkish side Galatasaray.
At present the Blues are the only English side to reach the last eight, with Arsenal and Man City falling to Bayern Munich and Barcelona respectively and Manchester United facing the tough challenge of turning around a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Olympiakos on Wednesday night.
But two-time Champions League runner-up Mendieta gave Premier League fans some hope as he told Sky Sports he believes Chelsea could be this year's surprise package.
"I think Chelsea could be the dark horse of the competition," said the former Barcelona midfielder.
"Everyone is talking about Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich but there has to be a team that no one expects to get to the semi-finals or final. This has happened in every Champions League season - and why not Chelsea?
"They've got Mourinho, with the experience he has in this competition, and this Chelsea team is very competitive and solid.
"No one wants to draw Real Madrid or Barcelona but I don't think whoever gets Chelsea would be happy."
Carlo Ancelotti became the first manager to take five different teams to the quarter-finals of the Champions League when Real Madrid booked their place in Friday's draw, with a 3-1 win over Schalke completing an incredible 9-2 aggregate triumph.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace to put him within two goals of breaking Lionel Messi's competition scoring record of 14 goals and Mendieta believes the Ballon d'Or winner is the main reason why Real are one of the favourites for this year's crown, alongside La Liga rivals Barcelona and holders Bayern.
He said: "Madrid, with the way they're playing, the squad they have and the fact that they have Ronaldo, you expect them to at least reach the semi-finals and why not be in the final.
"We've seen year after year how difficult it is for the big teams to get into the qualifying rounds but for Ancelotti to achieve that with five different teams is a great achievement.
"It's going to be hard for them with the teams involved because we've seen the likes of Bayern Munich and Barca and then there has to be a surprise as well.
"Atletico Madrid and Chelsea are teams that over two legs, when they're playing the second game at home, you never know.
"Atletico have already beaten Real Madrid and Barcelona so when you get to that level any team could be in the semi-final."
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