The world’s most expensive player vs the world’s best- Neymar v Ronaldo in European showdown

By Soccer Blog | Feb 13, 2018

The world’s best footballer will square off against the world’s most expensive player when Real Madrid and PSG lock horns in a blockbuster Round of 16 clash in the Champions League on Wednesday evening. The Ronaldo v Neymar clash is one of many sub plots in this intriguing clash between Zinedine Zidane’s defending champions and Unai Emery’s league leaders.

PSG topped their group ahead of Bayern Munich, which would ordinarily have meant an “easy” opponent in the Round of 16, but the Parisians have perhaps got the toughest draw of them all in the form of Real Madrid, winners of the last two editions of the tournament and the first team to defend their European crown. Zinedine Zidane’s side have struggled domestically this season but have started to click into gear in recent weeks. They’re also the reigning World champions, having won the Club World Cup two months ago

Paris Saint-Germain route to Round of 16

Celtic 0-5 PSG (Neymar, Mbappe, Cavani*2, Lustig OG)
PSG 3-0 Bayern (Alves, Neymar, Cavani)
Anderlecht 0-4 PSG (Mbappe, Cavani, Di Maria, Neymar)
PSG 5-0 Anderlecht (Verratti, Neymar, Kurzawa*3)
PSG 7-1 Celtic (Neymar*2, Cavani*2, Mbappe, Verratti, Alves)
Bayern 3-1 PSG (Mbappe)

Until that MD6 loss at the hands of Bayern, Paris had strolled through Group B, scoring 24 goals and conceding just once in their opening five games. No team scored more in the group stages than Unai Emery’s side, and only Barcelona and Manchester United conceded fewer goals.

PSG CL

Real Madrid were drawn in the “Group of Death” alongside Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund and finished second behind the Lilywhites. They lost 3-1 to Mauricio Pochettino’s side at Wembley (THFC’s highest attendance this season) and drew 1-1 with them at the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid route to round of 16

Real Madrid 3-0 APOEL (Ronaldo*2, Ramos)
Borussia Dortmund 1-3 Real Madrid (Bale, Ronaldo*2)
Real Madrid 1-1 Tottenham (Ronaldo pen)
Tottenham 3-1 Real Madrid (Ronaldo)
APOEL 0-6 Real Madrid (Modric, Benzema*2, Nacho, Ronaldo*2)
Real Madrid 3-2 Dortmund (Mayoral, Ronaldo, Vazquez)

Ronaldo, as you can see above, scored in EVERY group stage game- the first player to score on all six matchdays of the Champions League group stage. He’s struggled in recent times, but has got into good scoring form over the last few weeks- he’s netted 7 times in La Liga in one and a half months this year, compared to only four in five months last year.

Ronaldo’s return to goal scoring form has coincided with Real’s famous BBC trident (Bale, Benzema, Cristiano) being reunited on the pitch. The trio started a game for Real Madrid against Valencia in late January- the first time since April that they all took the pitch together.

The clash at the Bernabeu will be PSG’s fifth straight one on the road in all competitions. They’ve won the previous four, and a look at the odds at Footy Accumulators sees the French giants being quoted at 19/10 to beat Zinedine Zidane’s side.

Cristiano 7

Real Madrid recent form

Real Madrid 5-2 Sociedad
Levante 2-2 Real Madrid
Valencia 1-4 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 1-2 Leganes
Real Madrid 7-1 Deportivo

PSG recent form

Toulouse 0-1 PSG
Sochaux 1-4 PSG
Lille 0-3 PSG
Rennes 2-3 PSG
PSG 4-0 Montpellier

PSG’s last trip to the Bernabeu was in November 2015. Real won that game 1-0 thanks to Nacho’s first half strike. They also met in the International Champions Cup in July 2016, when PSG won 3-1 in Ohio thanks to Thomas Meunier’s brace.

The referee for this game is Gianluca Rocchi, the Italian who was also the man with the whistle when Real won the Super Cup earlier this season against Manchester United.

Rocchi G

Real Madrid v PSG kicks off on 14 February, 2018 (19.45 UK KO)

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