Real Madrid and Paris SG, everything ready for the great battle?
Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappé (i) runs with his teammate Neymar during a match of the French soccer league played on February 10, 2018 in Toulouse
Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain won on Saturday in their respective matches in the national championship, just before their expected Wednesday’s first-leg knockout in the Champions League. Do the two prepare to that game?
Despite the good vibes of the ‘general practice’ on Saturday, there are doubts that persist and will undoubtedly reflect Zinedine Zidane and Unai Emery, aware of everything that is played in this tie.
In Paris did not like the performance of Brazilian Dani Alves on Saturday in Toulouse (Parisian victory by 1-0), but Thomas Meunier takes little time to play, so it seems a risky bet for the Santiago Bernabéu.
The Argentine Angel di Maria, meanwhile, seems at a good time, but the PSG did not spend 180 million euros in Kylian Mbappé to leave him on the bench when the great European nights arrive.
Another position that raises questions is in the center of the field, just in front of the defense.
Thiago Motta was already ruled out and the options (Lassana Diarra, Giovani Lo Celso, Adrien Rabiot) present pros and cons.
“A Diarra lacks pace, Lo Celso lacks experience,” said former French player Bixente Lizarazu on Sunday on the TF1 TV show ‘Téléfoot’.
Lizarazu opted for Rabiot, whom he would accompany at the center with Marco Verratti and Julian Draxler, the latter instead of Di María.
– “A life of rock star” –
Lizarazu also pointed to a possible ‘Neymardependencia’ of the PSG: “Yes, it is a risk that he wants to win the match by himself”.
The former player of the Athletic and the Bayern of Munich also put the magnifying glass in the way of life of the Brazilian, between his celebration of birthday with guests ‘people’, a promotional trip to London or the photograph of the player in underwear and hat of Santa Claus in the middle of the snow.
“He has a life as a rock star, it’s a strange way to prepare a match like that, since everything can be stopped in the PSG project in the case of a knockout in the last eight against Real”, warns the former member of France world champion in 1998.
“Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi do not have that way of life and have been able to maintain themselves at a high level,” recalls Lizarazu.
The own Cristiano Ronaldo, another of the protagonists for Wednesday, signed a triplet against Real Sociedad (5-2) on Saturday. The Portuguese seems to finally recover his rhythm after half a year of doubts: in the last four games he has scored 7 goals and 2 assists.
“I would not risk giving him as a retiree, he trains as if he were a Marine,” said former Argentine international Jorge Valdano, in statements made on Sunday in the TV show “Téléfoot.”
– Deconcentration in defense? –
For Real Madrid it is key to be able to enjoy the best version of CR7, but if in Paris Saint-Germain they fear an excess of dependence on Neymar, whites can have the same thing. With Karim Benzema at a bad time – he was booed on Saturday – and Gareth Bale often with physical problems, Cristiano’s status is vital for Real Madrid.
“Who knows if, perhaps, with all the laps we give him, in the end it will all be reduced to Cristiano and his star turned on and off”, analyzes on Sunday the director of sports newspaper As, Alfredo Relaño. “The problem now is that there is no more letter than that, and if Madrid has Cristiano, PSG has Mbappé, Cavani, Neymar and even Di Maria just in case,” he warns.
Another question for Zidane is in the defense: Real Madrid have received goals in the last seven days of the League, a total of 12.
And on Wednesday the lateral Dani Carvajal will not play for suspension. Nacho will assume the task of not losing sight of Neymar.