Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

Di Maria: Madrid at their best in Champions League

Di Maria: Madrid at their best in Champions League

For them, it all comes down to what they can do in Europe, where they have enjoyed such success in the past.

Real Madrid have won a record 12 Champions League titles and became the first team in the history of the competition to win the title two times in a row, in 2016 and 2017.

"I am not thinking about my future". I remember seeing them play Chelsea off the park in 2014 yet still go out, but they avenged that tie in the following two seasons and are now regulars in the latter stages.

"That is what is important".

Reigning European champions Real (647.6 million euros) made nearly 200 million euros more in turnover than PSG (486.2 million) past year, according to Deloitte.

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They are fresh from a 2-0 victory against Fiorentina and have let in just a goal in their last 16 games across all competitions. Toby Alderweireld only returned from a hamstring injury last week when he played against Newport County in the FA Cup.

This is the first time that Zidane, a World Cup victor with France, has come up against a side from his home country as a coach.

While becoming the best at Barcelona is virtually impossible (if not actually impossible) due to Lionel Messi being there, Neymar believed PSG would be able to make him the best player around.

Asked if he would swap Neymar for Ronaldo, Emery said: "Well, this can be a hard question to ask or an easy one, depending on how you look at it or how I want to answer it".

The 33-year old has scored 7 league goals this year and stands as the current top scorer in Champions League this season.

Regarding PSG, we've seen a few gestures from Neymar in recent weeks to suggest he is not playing with the highest intensity.

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Madrid are without the suspended Daniel Carvajal meaning we could see Raphael Varane in an unfamiliar right-back role, freeing up Nacho Fernandez to partner Sergio Ramos.

Paris have of course been in Spain since that game in 2015, and will never forget the 6-1 humiliation they suffered in Barcelona at the same stage of last year's Champions League.

Neymar made the sport's biggest transfer when he joined PSG from Barcelona.

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani scored a glut of goals and will fancy their chances against a Madrid side that has faltered badly this season - the Champions League is the Spanish club's only remaining hope for silverware.

We have to focus on the here and now and we are more ready for the challenge this season than we were last term.

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PSG boss Unai Emery has always been tipped for the Paris exit door at the end of the season anyway. As back-to-back world champions, we're all reluctant to countenance a three-peat (this has to end sooner rather than later), but Real has got two extremely great things going for them at the moment.

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