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Real Madrid experience vital ahead of PSG tie

Posted on December 13, 2017 by admin

Real Madrid fans everywhere will be bemoaning the recent draw for the first knockout round of the Champions League, with the Spanish giants set to entertain Paris St Germain. The French club will not exactly be ecstatic at facing one of the tournament favourites so early in the competition, with the tie the most appealing of the round and set to be a heavyweight clash atypical of the first knockout round. Real Madrid typically thrive on this type of affair, however, and will always fancy their chances over two legs against any team in the world.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo is the first player EVER to score in all six Champions League group games in a single edition of the…

Posted by Real Madrid C.F. on Thursday, December 7, 2017

Source: Real Madrid C.F. via Facebook

Nevertheless, the pressure will be intense for both coaches. Zinedine Zidane should have earned himself some leeway considering that he has taken the club to consecutive Champions League titles, an outstanding feat that is unparalleled in the European Cup’s current guise. Yet with Real Madrid fourth in La Liga and eight points behind Barcelona who sit top of the table, the pressure will be on even more so in Europe if fortunes in the league do not change quickly and considerably.

Zidane will surely be retained for the next season barring a failure to qualify for the Champions League, but there is often a perception among successful clubs that there is no room for sentiment. Take Leicester City as an example, with Claudio Ranieri delivering a stunning and wholly unexpected league title and then being dismissed in the following campaign after some sketchy league results.

PSG’s Unai Emery knows that expectations have never been higher as manager of PSG, with the sensational outlays on Neymar and Kylian Mbappe minimising the number of excuses that can be made for a lack of European success. Considerable spending looked to have finally paved the way for European success when PSG comprehensively dismantled Barcelona 4-0 in the last-16 of the Champions League last season, but the 6-1 defeat in the second leg showed a troubling lack of backbone. Nine points clear of their three nearest rivals, Emery looks like he has sorted affairs domestically. This will enable a clear focus on the Champions League, therefore raising expectations and pressure on the manager.

Domestic success is certainly expected at both of these clubs, although Real Madrid have the more challenging opposition to fend off when battling for league titles. It would be audacious to expect Real Madrid to seal a third straight Champions League title, but a club of this stature will always be considered one of the leading contenders.

A favourable draw and an imperious start to the season for old nemesis Pep Guardiola and Manchester City has propelled them to the shortest odds with bookmakers, but those punting on different teams can find Real Madrid at odds of 15/2 with Sportsbet.io. It always takes a brave person to discount Real Madrid for a major title, and a domestic resurgence over Christmas could leave Zidane’s side itching to take on PSG.

 

Posted by PSG – Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, December 10, 2017

Source: PSG – Paris Saint-Germain via Facebook

Real Madrid’s experience of big games is second to none across the current leading European sides, evidenced by their consecutive Champions League victories and the unparalleled resolve of attacking dynamo Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star was recently awarded the Ballon d’Or for the fifth time, but his ambition and self-confidence is as grand as it was the first time he won. Ronaldo will not be satisfied with fourth place in the league and a defeat so early in the Champions League, and a player of his influence will be key in instigating a run of form.

The clash with PSG is given more depth considering those two aforementioned summer arrivals in Paris. Neymar’s Barcelona heritage means he will be facing old foes and reliving old rivalries, given the game an extra edge. His status as the world’s most expensive player is also an affront to a club that used to be renowned for its Galacticos and lavish spending.

Kylian Mbappe almost became the latest Galactico but opted to remain on home soil. The promising Frenchman may well end up at the Bernabeu one day, with his style of play perfect to replace Ronaldo if he ever retires. Yet if Mbappe impresses against Real Madrid, fans will be displeased that the Spanish giants did not turn their overtures into an actual signing.

It is a hugely difficult match to call, with Real Madrid the traditional European heavyweights and PSG buoyant from topping a group including Bayern Munich. The eyes of the footballing world will be watching this standout tie of the round, and the winner will be hoping victory is a springboard to taking the title in Kiev in May. To be the best, you have to beat the best, and Zidane will not allow his players to shirk the challenge.

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