Champions League football came back with a bang on Tuesday night as Juventus and Tottenham played out a 2-2 draw and Manchester City thumped FC Basel 4-0.
Being the hosts, Real are favourites to win at the Bernabeu but they have faced few tougher tests this season than against the oil-rich PSG.
Spearheaded by Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe, the Parisians know they can do some damage to their opponents, who only managed to finish second in the group stages.
Manager Unai Emery certainly seems confident of beating Los Blancos having learned from last season’s collapse against Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
“Our preparation began after the game at the Camp Nou,” said the PSG boss. “We have spoken little but very clearly about those moments.
“I think we are better prepared to compete at this level [than last year]. I plan on facing Madrid’s best and I am sure that. Just as our XI will be our best possible, they will do the same.
“It is true that they can change their system depending on their line-up and we have worked on all options that our opponent possesses.”
What makes the tie even more interesting isn’t just the rumours linking Neymar with Real, but Angel Di Maria returning to the club where he spent four years between 2010 and 2014.
Di Maria departed for Manchester United four years ago and has since admitted he never wanted to leave. Wage demands were reportedly a sticking point.
But unlike most players, the Argentine isn’t feeling sentimental ahead of his return to Madrid and has sent a pretty savage message to his former employers.
According to Di Maria, he has no relationship with Real anymore, so much so that if Barcelona came knocking he would happily join them. He told So Foot, per Goal:
“My relationship with Madrid is finished because my cycle there ended. Frankly, I wouldn’t have a problem to play at Barca, to the contrary.”
Ouch. Di Maria will only hope PSG get a result against Real tonight otherwise he could be in for some abuse from Madridistas.
That’s if the 30-year-old even plays, of course. He’s made four appearances in the Champions League this season but come on from the bench on every occasion, playing just 67 minutes.