Real Madrid will be looking to flex their metaphorical muscles when they head to the Parc des Princes to take on Paris Saint-Germain in a Champions League Round of 16 first leg on Tuesday night.
The two powerhouse clubs enjoyed rather contrasting fortunes during the group stages, with Real winning five out of six games to comfortably finish top of Group D. It was less convincing from PSG, who won three games, drew two and lost one, which left them in second place – albeit just one point behind Group A winners Manchester City.
Notably, Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy have recovered from their injuries and will travel with the Real Madrid squad to Paris.
Mendy completed Sunday’s training session with the squad and while Benzema was able to rejoin the group, he could only complete a portion of the session. He will now have to try complete Monday’s pre-match training in order to be ready to feature in the starting lineup on Tuesday.
By and large, manager Carlo Ancelotti has a healthy squad to choose from for this crucial away game, but will have an interesting call to make when it comes to Benzema and Mendy’s selection.
Meanwhile, after a notable wait, PSG forward Neymar could soon make his return to in-game action.
Neymar featured in PSG’s scheduled training session on Sunday as the Brazilian seems to have overcome a worrying ankle injury, and he could well be available to feature in the clash with the La Liga side.
Neymar has not featured in a single match since suffering the notable injury in PSG’s Ligue 1 fixture against AS Saint-Etienne in the first half of the season.
PSG come into this clash on the back of a 1-0 victory over Rennes in the French Ligue 1 on Friday, while Real played to a disappointing 0-0 draw with Villarreal in the Spanish LaLiga on Saturday.
On an interesting side note, Real and PSG are expected to have a meeting about Kylian Mbappe before the first leg encounter.
There appears to be a lot more at stake than a football match of 90 minutes. On one side there is Mbappe, who dreams of playing for Real and has been pushing for a move to the Spanish club since last season, while PSG will do anything and everything to retain the services of the 23-year-old.