The stand-out tie of the last 16 of the Champions League is undoubtedly Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain. The leaders of La Liga against the leaders of Ligue 1, there’s a host of intriguing storylines there as well as an astronomically high level of quality.
Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos are returning to Spain for the first time since they left on free transfers in the summer, while Kylian Mbappe will play against the club he could be joining at the end of the season if all things go to plan. What’s more, Carlo Ancelotti is facing off against his old club in PSG and Mauricio Pochettino is facing off against a club he’s flirted with in the past in Madrid.
Los Blancos are eight points clear of Sevilla at the top of La Liga at the time of writing, while PSG are 13 points clear of Marseille at the top of Ligue 1. Madrid topped Champions League Group D – they finished five points clear of Internazionale. PSG finished second in Group A – just a point behind Manchester City.
Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos admitted in comments carried by Cope that while PSG “are the toughest rival of the five” they could have faced, he and his teammates want to play “this type of game” against rivals of the highest level.
“We have a very interesting opponent for the next round,” he said. “I think they’re the toughest rival of the five that we could have drawn. But these are the games for which we play football. We look for these games, with a lot of quality on the pitch. Let’s see what happens – at the end of the day we’re Madrid.
“The most important thing now is to continue doing what we’re doing in these next matches before Christmas, to continue winning important points that bring us closer to our goal of winning La Liga at the end of the season. This is the most important thing and we have to concentrate on that first. Then we focus on the Champions League, but only when the time comes.”