Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester Metropolis have an early probability to put down a marker within the Champions League after they meet on the Parc des Princes on Tuesday in a rematch of final yr’s semi-final that sees Pep Guardiola and his outdated pupil Lionel Messi go face to face.
Qatar-owned PSG and Abu Dhabi-backed Metropolis have modified the face of European soccer during the last decade with their spending in pursuit of Champions League glory, one thing that has thus far eluded each golf equipment.
Metropolis got here agonisingly shut final season after they beat PSG within the semi-finals solely to lose to Chelsea within the ultimate in Porto.
PSG, runners-up in 2020, will need a measure of revenge for that, however they already have one over on the English champions with the signing of Messi, who at one level regarded extra prone to find yourself on the Etihad Stadium.
“Messi speaks for himself, I haven’t got to explain him. What he is accomplished is greater than distinctive and hopefully tomorrow he can play for the good thing about the sport,” Guardiola mentioned on Monday as he regarded ahead to developing towards the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, with whom he loved a lot success in Barcelona between 2008 and 2012.
Messi has missed PSG’s final two video games with a minor knee drawback. He has not but scored for his new membership and has solely made three appearances since arriving from Barcelona in the beginning of August, finishing 90 minutes simply as soon as.
That was within the 1-1 draw with Membership Brugge in Belgium in PSG’s first outing in Champions League Group A, a consequence which left Mauricio Pochettino’s staff already trailing behind Metropolis, who trounced RB Leipzig 6-3 final day trip.
Each golf equipment are anticipated to advance from the group to the final 16, however a defeat for PSG on the Parc des Princes would go away them in a probably tough state of affairs already and possibly even elevate the unthinkable prospect of a group-stage exit.
“This isn’t a decisive sport. There are two different sturdy groups trying to undergo to the following spherical,” insisted former Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera, PSG’s joint-top scorer this season with 4 objectives.
“Generally the strain we’ve got, one thing I’ve felt because the day I got here in right here, it’s a strain that does not exist at another membership in Europe,” Herrera added.
“No different staff in Europe is obliged to win the Champions League, so this strain for my part is unfair, however it’s one thing we settle for and get on with.”
Angel Di Maria may very well be added into that blend though the Argentine is at present serving a Champions League ban following his crimson card towards Metropolis final season.
Messi adapting to ‘new tradition’
In any case it’s, naturally, Messi who attracts a lot of the consideration.
Metropolis and PSG stand for one and the identical factor within the eyes of their many detractors, most notably La Liga president Javier Tebas, who has repeatedly accused the 2 golf equipment of introducing “monetary doping” in soccer.
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However, their respective approaches haven’t been the identical, with Metropolis largely placing their religion in Guardiola to mould a profitable staff and PSG putting extra of an emphasis on particular person stars.
PSG haven’t gained any of the 5 earlier conferences of the golf equipment, however they did not have Messi earlier than.
“We’re speaking about the very best participant on the earth however it’s essential perceive he’s additionally a person,” Pochettino mentioned when requested about how his compatriot was settling in Paris.
“He must adapt to a brand new membership and a brand new tradition,” he added. “He was at Barcelona for 20 years. Now all the things is new. He has not been right here lengthy and he wants time to get to know his teammates, however for positive he’s going to succeed.”