Do you remember? In February of last year PSG came to Madrid in the first leg of the round of 16 and it was a feeling like Attila arriving at the gates of Rome. That Madrid had Cristiano in their ranks and were the reigning champions of Europe, winner of the two before that, and four of the five most recent. But that Mbappé-Cavani-Neymar attack was imposing. That one especially, where its genius still prevailed over its impulsive narcistic rockstar image, which has since been seen. Mbappé was the emerging figure, ‘The Chosen One’, just as LeBron James had been years before in the NBA. Cavani was the classic beast in the attack.
The PSG fear is reduced
I had never seen Real Madrid so frightened. But they made it through and won their third consecutive Champions League, their thirteenth in total. I only bring this up because I am somewhat surprised by the serenity with which we now await PSG, a side that recently taught Madrid a lesson in Paris. So why is this the case? Undoubtedly it is in part due to Los Blancos giving a sense of regained confidence and improved play in the past few weeks. The team is the same as the one that seemed to get bored of itself, looking in the mirror watching win after win. Suddenly it appears young and ambitious once again.
Zidane's new miracle test
Only a touch up was required. Valverde, more than most, and we will see if he plays today. And Mendy, who has put Marcelo's place at risk, we also don't know if he is available. But the group has shaken off the old cobwebs and now faces the challenge with a calmness that is transmitted to the stands and through the streets. Although, they must watch out. Mbappé could burst into life, Neymar is capable of devilment, Icardi is the new Cavani, while the old one remains, and Di Maria is shining brightly right now. There is a true rival, although their campaign that announces their arrival has dampened their aura. It is an opponent tonight which will really let us know if Zidane's potion has created a new miracle.