In what has probably been Real Madrid’s worst campaign so far since the turn of the decade, Zinedine Zidane’s men will now face their toughest test so far this season, as they welcome French giants PSG for the first leg of their Round of 16 tie in the Champions League on Wednesday. Having added both Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jr, PSG are in some sizzling form, strolling their way to the Ligue 1 title.
Los Blancos are currently 17 points off Barcelona at the top of the La Liga table, but have won the European title in the last two seasons and will be pumped up for the most awaited football game of this year so far. Zidane is expected to field his strongest side and here is the predicted lineup he might field for this tie.
Zidane is not missing too many of his first-team stars with Dani Carvajal the only absentee, who will be serving a suspension. Jesus Vallejo and Dani Ceballos are still nursing injuries and are expected to miss this game.
Expected lineup (4-2-2-2):
Keylor Navas remains Zidane’s first choice under the bar this season and should retain his place in the first team for this crunch tie. Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane will start at the heart of the Real Madrid defense and will have a tough task, keeping Kylian Mbappe away from goal. Nacho will start on the right wing and will be up against Neymar Jr, who will look to set the field on fire, back in Spain for the first time, after he quit Camp Nou.
Marcelo will keep his place on the left flank and will have to add numbers at both ends, for his side to take anything from this game.
Casemiro has not been at his best and will be under serious pressure, facing an inform attack from PSG, he will be accompanied by Toni Kroos, who might have to do more defensive work than he is comfortable with.
Luka Modric has also not been able to find consistency this season but is an integral part of Zidane’s system, and should start as a part of the attacking midfield. Isco, currently struggling for form, is still a match winner and should complete Real Madrid’s 4-man midfield.
Gareth Bale is back fit but might not make it to the starting XI. Cristiano Ronaldo, who loves this competition, should start in the attack, partnering Karim Benzema, who is seriously low on confidence at the moment.
Here is how they might line up:
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