The stand-out tie of the last 16 of the Champions League is undoubtedly Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain. The leaders of La Liga against the leaders of Ligue 1, there’s a host of intriguing storylines there as well as an astronomically high level of quality.
Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos are returning to Spain for the first time since they left on free transfers in the summer, while Kylian Mbappe will play against the club he could be joining at the end of the season if all things go to plan. What’s more, Carlo Ancelotti is facing off against his old club in PSG and Mauricio Pochettino is facing off against a club he’s flirted with in the past in Madrid.
Los Blancos are eight points clear of Sevilla at the top of La Liga at the time of writing, while PSG are 13 points clear of Marseille at the top of Ligue 1. Madrid topped Champions League Group D – they finished five points clear of Internazionale. PSG finished second in Group A – just a point behind Manchester City.
Speaking in comments carried by Cope, Pochettino assured that PSG face a “difficult” tie against a team who’s “used to winning” in Europe. “It’s a team that has a great coach and great players. It’s a team used to winning the Champions League, a team with a lot of history and a lot of experience,” the Argentine said.
“The important thing will be to arrive in February in the best conditions, evaluating each player individually. There’s always luck at play in the state of each team, and injuries can play a role too. Many factors can influence it.” PSG, he said, will go into the game “with confidence” because they’re “a great team, with great players that have a lot of talent,” he said. “We have enough quality to overcome this tie and move on to the next round.”