If you are trying to impress prospective employers, then there cannot be a bigger shop window than tonight for Neymar.
Exactly this day last year, Neymar with Barcelona were mauled 4-0 at the Parc des Princes, he would love to hand out that kind of beating to the UEFA Champions League defending champions, Real Madrid, complete with Cristiano Ronaldo.
The reason why PSG paid $222 million for him is because of these kind of evenings, to take their place amongst European football royalty – to show Madridistas that he can take over from Ronaldo, their current talisman. In head-to-head, the two teams are at par – two victories each.
In his pre-match press conference, Zinedine Zidane played down the comparison between Neymar and Ronaldo, emphasising that the match is between Real Madrid and PSG.
“We’ve been speaking about big players but tomorrow is a case of Real Madrid-PSG, not Neymar against Cristiano.
“Cristiano has done some extraordinary things and won five Ballon d’Or trophies. I’m not going to make any comparisons. We all know what Neymar can do on the pitch. He has real quality and often makes the difference. We’re not here for a showdown between those two, we’re here to watch Real Madrid take on PSG”.
|Pass Completion [%]||90||89
|Shot Accuracy [%]||56||52|
With their league form, Los Blancos cannot feel totally confident of a victory against PSG because the French side scored more goals in the group stage, conceded less and more importantly, have Neymar in their ranks. But Real can be quietly confident of Ronaldo hitting target again, having scored nine times in the group stage though PSG scored 25 goals in total.
As a genuine front three, Neymar, Edinson Cavani, and Kylian Mbappe seem much better than Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Gareth Bale. Toni Kroos expects the game to be a hard one but he told Marca – “It is about trusting ourselves in what we do. That will be the most important thing.”
But can Zinedine Zidane trust Benzema not to miss gilt-edged chances? Can he trust Keylor Navas not to make any stupid mistakes in goal? It will all be about the defending champions not self-destructing in the face of PSG’s multifaceted team, who may have insider knowledge from former Barcelona players – Thiago Motta, Neymar, and Dani Alves.
At the pre-match press conference, Marquinhos stated that he knows Real will be wary of their attack but also added that the whole team must defend as a team.
“Tomorrow at the back we need to work in a team. Ninety minutes of working as a unit: the attack, the midfield, and the defence. That’ll make things easier. We have an attacking unit that they’ll be worried about, too.”
Zinedine Zidane will have to do without Dani Carvajal, while PSG still have doubts concerning the fitness of Cavani, Layvin Kurzawa, and Motta.
Current Form: Real Madrid [W-D-W-L-W]; PSG [W-W-W-W-W]
Head to head
28/07/16 ICC Real Madrid 1 – 3 PSG
03/11/15 UCL Real Madrid 1 – 0 PSG
21/10/15 UCL PSG 0 – 0 Real Madrid
02/01/14 CLF PSG 0 – 1 Real Madrid
27/07/13 CLF PSG 0 – 1 Real Madrid
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-2 PSG