Real Madrid may be struggling this season, but there are 3 reasons to believe the side can push past PSG in the Champions League
Ok, so… Real Madrid are sucking pretty badly this season. Last week’s showcase in Levante’s stadium confirmed that they simply don’t care about the point difference with Barça in LaLiga.
The Copa del Rey, likewise, was a total disaster after being knocked out by humble Leganes. So, Champions League it is. All the eggs in the same basket to avoid this season’s total failure.
However, the Last 16 round double fixture against Paris Saint-Germain may present a couple of obstacles for Zinedine Zidane’s players. Mainly, PSG are one of Europe’s juggernauts, packed with skilled and expensive players seduced by all the bells and whistles of cash itself – similar to what Real usually does when signing big names.
Odds are, unexpectedly, against Los Blancos, but there are a few reasons to believe they will move on to the next round
1) All the pressure on PSG
Amazingly enough, PSG are going into this epic showdown with the added pressure of being the top dog. Whereas Real have been stumbling throughout the season in other competitions, the French team’s performance to date has been delivered without any hiccups.
Yes, the occasional Neymar drama with some of his team mates, a pinch of banter in press conferences or interviews… and that’s about it. The tremendous level of investment this season and Nasser Al-Khelaïfi’s high ambitions regarding the competition leave no other interpretation: getting knocked out in this round would be a total failure for the French club.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) February 9, 2018
2) Unai Emery’s ghosts of the past
Such failure would have direct and immediate consequences on the bench. In 2016, Basque coach Unai Emery (after a lukewarm run in Valencia, a disastrous season in Moscow and three Europa League championship titles with Sevilla) was handed the reins of the world’s most expensive squad.
Nine months later, the team was trashed in Camp Nou in a 6-1 game that instantly became stuff of legend.
Though most of the blame was laid upon Emery’s shoulders, the Board in PSG decided to double down on the bet. So Neymar was brought in, Mbappe came too, Emery-favourite left-back Yuri was signed and so on. To date, PSG owns the most expensive line-up in Europe, player by player.
However, many have questioned Emery’s skill to make the team gel and click on the pitch. Will he be able to achieve this in two games where his job might be on the line?
L’Equipe have PSG’s Unai Emery (unsurprisingly) as the best-paid coach in Ligue 1. pic.twitter.com/eF42Jc0Ikn
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) February 6, 2018
3) Champions League is Zidane’s lucky charm
Zinedine Zidane has always been a Champions League darling, and vice versa. Indeed, his was the amazing strike that granted Real the ninth championship in that epic game against Bayer Leverkusen.
This tournament has again and again showed with a lucky woodwork finish, the convenient penalty called, the miraculous 90th-minute goal, that ZZ is charmed with good luck throughout the whole competition. Ask Atlético what they think about this.
So, in a season where everything else is lost, there’s no doubt ‘Zizou’ will go all-in to win his third Champions League in a row, a feat that would turn him into the greatest manager ever.