The legend that is Jean-Pierre Papin, former Marseille, Milan and Bayern Munich star, spoke to Diario AS with a key focus on the upcoming Champions League game between Real Madrid and PSG.
Who is favourite for the Champions League tie, Real Madrid o PSG?
PSG is a slight favourite as it is a team that does not doubt its football, they win almost all their games and are pretty much already French champions. But I don't trust Madrid. And neither should PSG as, although they have a little advantage, they will be up against the team that has won the last two Champions Leagues.
And this was not by chance. It is the last opportunity left for Madrid to win a title this season and we know what they are capable of doing in this competition. You have to respect them.
With Madrid putting all their efforts into the Champions League, does this make them more dangerous?
Clearly, yes. The Madrid players are made for the Champions League, they are used to playing in it, and winning it. They have so much experience in this competition which gives them a reputation and in the Champions League everything is decided by fine details.
In saying this, I have watched Madrid play for over a month and it is disturbing, especially in attack. They are struggling to score goals.
Will the two tridents, Bale-Benzema-Cristiano vs Neymar-Cavani-Mbappé, be key to the who goes through?
I think so. When you analyse the Madrid attack and then that of the Parisiens, I'd suggest that youth favours the latter but experience the former. In defence, the key for Madrid is to stop Mbappé and Neymar, but that will be difficult [he laughs]. If PSG score in the Bernabéu, it will give them a strong advantage.
How do you explain the difficulties at Real Madrid?
I have the feeling that I've been watching the same Madrid team for three years. There is no competition between the players. I'm not saying that it's an aging team, but it's less impressive than last season. We have seen this group play many times, and there have been no changes, no new players in the starting eleven. Real Madrid are finding it difficult to raise their game; right now they are a 'normal' team. But that is in their league, we'll see them in the Champions League. I think we're giving too much to PSG being favourites.
Do you think Madrid were right not to make any January signings?
Personally, I would have signed a number nine, but that's my point of view. I think that Madrid to strengthen the competition there. The perfect example for me is Benzema. He was scoring lots of goals and now nothing. He doesn't even look dangerous, this is the strangest thing.
But who is best placed to know what the team needs? There is no one better than Zidane. He knows the group and has confidence in his players. In the last two seasons he wasn't wrong, you have to trust him. I respect Zidane a lot. He has done great things.
How do you explain what has happened to Benzema?
In the life of a striker, nothing is perfect all the time. There are always times when things don't work out. The problem is that Madrid had that moment as a collective, everyone at the same time. I think Madrid will improve in the coming weeks but, as of today, PSG can overcome them.