Paris Saint-Germain welcome Manchester City to the Parc des Princes for the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals tomorrow. Neither team has won the competition in their history, so an intriguing battle awaits us in the French capital.
Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino have locked horns several times over the years, with Tottenham Hotspur's dramatic victory against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals in 2019 the pick of the bench. However, the Cityzens have been the best team in Europe in the current campaign and are in pursuit of the treble.
Paris Saint-Germain, on the other hand, are involved in a thrilling title race in Ligue 1, as they prepare for a frantic end to the season. Both sides have quality players in abundance and have impressed in Europe this season, with PSG getting past Barcelona and Bayern Munich on their way to the semis.
On that note, here are five key players who could decide the tie at the Parc des Princes.
#5 Ilkay Gundogan | Manchester City
Ilkay Gundogan has enjoyed a stunning season for Manchester City and has arguably been Pep Guardiola's best player since the turn of the year. The German midfielder has scored goals for fun, while his ability to control the tempo and keep things ticking in the center of the park has made him an invaluable asset for the Cityzens.
Against a side like Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City will need to control the midfield to exert their dominance, so Gundogan will have to be at the top of his game. He is set to come up against one of the best midfielders in the world in Marco Verratti, so the German's performance could determine how well the Cityzens play on the night.
#4 Kylian Mbappe | Paris Saint-Germain
Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe has recorded eight goals and three assists in the UEFA Champions League campaign so far — including a stunning hat-trick against Barcelona at the Camp Nou — and is showing exactly why he is one of the most feared attackers on the planet.
The Frenchman, alongside Neymar, will be a handful for a Manchester City backline that has struggled to cope with pacy attackers on the counter over the years. Mbappe is not just a young player anymore and is experienced enough to step up on the big stage, so the onus will once again be on him to provide the goalscoring impetus for Paris Saint-Germain on the night.
#3 Phil Foden | Manchester City
Manchester City academy graduate Phil Foden is undoubtedly one of the most talented young players in world football and is enjoying his best season as a senior pro. An exciting attacking midfielder by trade, Foden has been deployed in a handful of positions by Pep Guardiola and has managed to show his class regardless of where he has played.
In recent weeks, he has also scored a few big goals for the club and could be the X-factor against Paris Saint-Germain. Manchester City are playing without an out-and-out center forward these days, so they could turn to the likes of Foden, Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne for goals from midfield.
Foden has got the world at his feet and looks all set to be named in the starting XI for Manchester City's most important game of the season to date.
#2 Kevin De Bruyne | Manchester City
Kevin De Bruyne has once again been in stellar form this season and has carried on from where he left off in the 2019-20 campaign. The Belgian maestro's unique ability to score goals as well as create them is his biggest trait, as he continues to cement his status as one of the biggest matchwinners in world football.
The 29-year-old has notched up eight goals and 17 assists in all competitions this season and has been Guardiola's go-to man in the knockout stages, as he looks to get his hands on the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
De Bruyne is one of Manchester City's senior players, so the onus will be on him to lead from the front and take his side through to the finals with a memorable performance.
#1 Neymar | Paris Saint-Germain
When Neymar plays, he tends to take center stage more often than not. That is said to be the case once again in a big European semi-final, as he prepares to spearhead Paris Saint-Germain to their second successive UCL final. The enigmatic Brazilian was the star of the show against Bayern Munich, as he produced one of the most entertaining performances of the season in the second leg.
Neymar has won the competition with Barcelona, but he has thus far been unable to do so with Paris Saint-Germain. If the Ligue 1 giants manage to get past Manchester City — who are widely regarded as the best team in the competition currently — they will fancy their chances in the final against Real Madrid or Chelsea.
The former Barcelona attacker could cement his status as one of the greatest players of his generation if he manages to get one over the Cityzens and go all the way this season.