Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain lock horns in a high-profile UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash at the Camp Nou later today. Both sides have blown hot and cold this season, with the Parisian giants appointing former Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino in place of Thomas Tuchel in late 2020.
Barcelona, on the other hand, are currently in a rich vein of form under Ronald Koeman after an underwhelming start to the season. Although the Catalan giants are likely to concede defeat in the La Liga title race to Atletico Madrid, they could well be a force to be reckoned with in Europe.
Talismanic skipper Lionel Messi has returned to his best in recent weeks, while Antoine Griezmann has also been in stunning form since the turn of the year. Koeman spoke earlier this week about Messi enjoying his football once again, but the Argentine's future continues to dominate the back pages.
Paris Saint-Germain have been mentioned as frontrunners for Messi's signature, with several players from the Ligue 1 champions publicly speaking about the club's pursuit of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.
Paris Saint-Germain talisman Neymar to miss hotly-anticipated reunion with Barcelona
Another intriguing subplot involves Neymar, who was all set to come up against his former club for the first time since his record-breaking move to the French capital. The mercurial Brazilian, however, is out with an adductor injury and is expected to miss up to four weeks of action for Paris Saint-Germain.
While there will be no reunion between Neymar and his former teammates, Messi could well be rubbing shoulders with his future employers, if rumors are to be believed. Due to events on and off the pitch, the spotlight will once again be on the Barcelona captain, who is coming on the back of a stunning brace in the 5-1 victory against Deportivo Alaves.
Paris Saint-Germain have looked good in patches under Pochettino, but Barcelona will look to make home advantage count to record a victory at home. The Parisian giants are no pushovers, but the absence of Neymar could severely dent their hopes of recording a famous result away from home.
Prediction: Barcelona 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain