Champions League 1/16 Real Madrid vs PSG: which players are injured for the match?
Real Madrid host Paris Saint-Germain at the Bernabéu on Wednesday evening with the Ligue 1 side holding a 1-0 aggregate lead through Kylian Mbappé.
Build it and they will come, the film quote roughly goes, and Real Madrid are building it. Who the Bernabéu board want to come is scarcely a secret, but on Wednesday night Madridismo will be hoping that Kylian Mbappé waits until next season to set foot on the turf of Madrid’s new stadium-in-waiting, lest the PSG forward bring the house down as he did in Paris, with a feint, a drop of the shoulder and clinical precision. Mbappé’s strike in the Parc des Princes gives PSG a slim advantage going into the Champions League last 16 second leg but Madrid are no strangers to a European comeback and will look to their legacy to see off the challenge of the pretenders to their continental pre-eminence.
Whatever the result of Wednesday’s game, the narrative will follow closely at Mbappé’s heels: the coveted forward is widely expected to move to Real Madrid in the summer, but whether he does so having extinguished Madrid’s Champions League hopes for another season or as part of another failed PSG coup is all that will matter when the teams take to the pitch. Whether Mbappé makes it that far has been the subject of speculation after Idrissa Gueye put in an over-zealous challenge in training, but he is in the squad and given PSG’s performances of late he will play even if only one foot is fully operational. Mbappé’s importance to PSG cannot be understated, despite the company he keeps in the front line.
Leo Messi has hardly set the Parc des Prince alight since his move from Barcelona, scoring just twice in Ligue 1 – an afternoon’s work in his pomp – but he has found the net five times in the Champions League and he knows where the one guarded by Thibaut Courtois is, having tormented Real Madrid down the years when representing his former employers. Crucially, the Argentina captain has 11 assists, and finding Mbappé is currently his primary task.
PSG team news and injuries
Should Mbappé be cleared to start, Mauricio Pochettino will have a decision to make on the identity of his third attacker. Neymar is returning from a lengthy injury lay-off and will expect to be named in the starting XI, but Pochettino may be inclined to add the increased work-rate and defensive abilities of Ángel di María to lend his side balance. In midfield, Gueye will be afforded the opportunity to use his boots on the opposition if Leandro Paredes misses out with Marco Verratti providing the fulcrum for the front three.
Sergio Ramos will not have the opportunity to face his former club due to injury while Juan Bernat and Ander Herrera are also unavailable.
Real Madrid team news and injuries
Carlo Ancelotti has a couple of puzzles to ponder before kick-off, and the Italian may well be cursing the fickle hand of fate as he attempts to stop Achraf Hakimi running amok on the PSG right instead of having the Morocco international to hand. The prospect of a devastating counter-attacking full back with a point to prove will almost certainly lead to Nacho deputizing for Ferland Mendy, the canterano offering considerably more defensive security than club captain Marcelo.
Casemiro, like Mendy, is suspended and Ancelotti will have to place his faith in Eduardo Camavinga, the former Rennes defensive midfielder who was courted by PSG before moving to the Bernabéu, precisely as a back-up for the Brazilian card magnet, who for some time was the only squad member without a natural replacement. Toni Kroos also faces a late fitness test and if the German misses out Ancelotti will be without two-thirds of his first-choice midfield, which could tempt Pochettino into throwing both Di María and Neymar on with Messi deployed as an attacking midfielder to keep Camavinga occupied.
Real Madrid vs PSG: predicted starting XIs
Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Militão, Alaba, Nacho; Camavinga, Kroos, Modric; Vinicius, Benzema, Asensio.
PSG: Donnarumma; Achraf, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; Pereira, Paredes, Verratti; Neymar, Messi, Mbappé.