Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain: A tactical overview
The clash between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain has everything in it to be called a blockbuster. A reigning champion who is struggling, a superstar who wants to prove himself, a manager who is fighting to continue his legacy, a manager who is out to prove that he can compete with the best, and finally a teenager who is making his mark in Europe. This tie is definitely is the clash everyone has been waiting for.
Real Madrid would have been the last team PSG would have wanted in their pursuit to be a dominant force in Europe's premier competition. Real Madrid, on the other hand, are also not having a season they would have hoped for; they were knocked out by Leganes in the Copa del Rey and are 17 points behind La Liga leaders FC Barcelona.
The games over the two legs have much more than Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. to it, there will be a lot of key battles that will decide the contest. Here are the tactical spots that could decide the blockbuster tie.
#1 Neymar vs Real Madrid defence
Dani Carvajal is suspended for the first leg of the round of 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain because a late yellow card he received against Apoel Nicosia. The only right-back available to the reigning champions is Achraf Hakimi. The young Moroccan defender will have a lot on his shoulders.
The Real Madrid defence has been far from what they were last season; they have suffered due to poor display and constant injuries to key defenders Ramos and Varane. Marcelo also has been inconsistent with his performances this season.
The former Barcelona star is acing in his first season at the French capital. He already has 28 goals and 16 assists to his name so far in all competitions, and the business end of the season is yet to arrive.
The PSG attack has much more to it than Neymar, but with Carvajal out because of suspension, he will have to confidence and freedom to play around. Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani will also have a huge say in this game but players like Ramos, Varane, and Marcelo have the potential to compete with them.
The challenges he left Barcelona for, are matches like these when a player solidifies his name in history. The stage has been set for the Brazilian to announce PSG on the European scale.
It would also be interesting to see how Real Madrid would tackle his pace and skills in the left wing with Carvajal being out of the first leg.