UEFA Champions League – Real Madrid-Paris – Real Madrid welcome Paris in heavyweight showdown
Two of Europe’s big guns come face to face at the Santiago Bernabéu in the round of 16 as Real Madrid CF’s bid to win three UEFA Champions League titles in a row comes under threat from Paris Saint-Germain.
• Madrid finished second to Tottenham Hotspur FC in Group H – the second year running they have been runners-up in their section – while Paris won their first five Group B games to top the standings ahead of FC Bayern München.
• However, while the Spanish side have got to the semi-finals or better in each of the last seven seasons, Paris will need no reminding of their remarkable exit at this stage at the hands of FC Barcelona 12 months ago – their most recent tie against Spanish opponents.
• The teams last met in the 2015/16 group stage, when a 0-0 draw in Paris preceded a 1-0 Real Madrid win in Spain, Nacho scoring the only goal in the 35th minute having come on only two minutes earlier. That helped the Merengues to finish first in the section, three points ahead of their French rivals.
• The line-ups at the Santiago Bernabéu on 3 November 2015 were:
Madrid: Navas, Danilo, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo (Nacho 33), Modrić, Casemiro, Kroos, Jesé (Vázquez 63), Ronaldo, Isco (Kovačić 82).
Paris: Trapp, Aurier, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Maxwell, Verratti (Rabiot 17), Motta, Matuidi (Lucas 75), Di María, Ibrahimović, Cavani.
• Paris knocked Madrid out of Europe two years in a row: in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup quarter-finals (1-3 a, 4-1 h), and in the 1993/94 European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finals (1-0 a, 1-1 h).
• On 3 March 1994 George Weah scored in the first half to win the first leg for Artur Jorge’s Paris against Vicente del Bosque’s Madrid, the Spanish side’s sole home defeat against a French club.
• The line-ups at the Santiago Bernabéu were:
Madrid: Buyo, Chendo, Goicoechea, Alkorta, Sanchís (Morales 56), Ramis, Luis Enrique, Míchel, Zamorano (Muñoz 85), Milla, Dubovský (Prosinečki 88).
Paris: Lama, Sassus, Colleter, Ricardo, Roche, Llacer, Fournier, Guérin, Weah, Valdo, Ginola.
• Madrid are looking to reach the quarter-finals for the eighth successive year. Their round of 16 record is W8 L6; they lost at this stage for six years in a row between 2005 and 2010.
• In the 2016/17 round of 16, Madrid were 3-1 winners both home and away to SSC Napoli.
• The Merengues have won 33 of their last 39 UEFA Champions League home matches, losing just once – 4-3 to FC Schalke 04 in their 2014/15 round of 16 second leg, when they still prevailed 5-4 on aggregate.
• Ronaldo became the first player to score in all six group games, registering nine goals overall.
• Madrid have lost just two of their last 25 European fixtures, most recently the 3-1 defeat at Tottenham on matchday four, winning 17 and drawing six.
• Those 2015 games against Paris were Madrid’s last matches against French opposition. They are unbeaten in their last nine such encounters (W6 D3), going back to a 1-0 loss at Olympique Lyonnais in the 2009/10 round of 16 first leg (1-2 aggregate). In those wins they scored 15 goals without reply.
• Madrid have kept five successive clean sheets against French sides, scoring ten goals (W4 D1).
• That 1994 defeat by Paris is the Merengues’ only reverse in their 14 matches at home to Ligue 1 visitors (W10 D3). They have won their last four home matches.
• While Madrid have lost both their two-legged knockout ties with Paris, against French clubs overall their knockout record is W3 L4. Their most recent contests were a 4-1 aggregate victory against Lyon in the 2010/11 round of 16 (1-1 away, 3-0 home).
• Champions of Europe for a 12th time in 2016/17 – courtesy of their 4-1 final win against Juventus – Madrid aim to become the first team since Bayern München in 1976 to claim three successive European Champion Clubs’ Cups. AFC Ajax (1971–73) and Madrid themselves (1956–60) are the only other sides to have won three or more in a row.
• This is Paris’ sixth successive round of 16 tie – and also their sixth overall. They won the first four, but exited in dramatic circumstances at this stage 12 months ago.
• Paris were on the wrong end of the biggest comeback in UEFA Champions League history in last term’s round of 16. Having won 4-0 at home to FC Barcelona, the French outfit succumbed 6-1 in the away leg to bow out – with Neymar, now of Paris, providing two Barça goals and an assist.
• That was the Parisian side’s last trip to Spain, where their record is W4 D2 L7. They have lost on their last four visits: three at Barcelona and that 2015 reverse in Madrid.
• The Parisians have won seven of their last 12 away fixtures in the competition, winning 5-0 at Celtic and 4-0 at Anderlecht this season; they have lost four games in that run. Matchday one was their first clean sheet in seven away matches; they subsequently managed another at Anderlecht.
• The French club’s record in two-legged ties against Spanish sides is W5 L3. Those three defeats have come in the three most recent contests, all against Barcelona – in last season’s round of 16 and the quarter-finals of 2015 and 2013.
• Paris have never lost the first leg of a round of 16 tie (W4 D1).
Coach and player links
• Zinédine Zidane faced Paris four times as a player for FC Girondins de Bordeaux and Juventus (W2 D1 L1).
• Unai Emery twice faced Real Madrid’s B team, Castilla, as a CD Toledo player (W2). However as manager of Almería, Valencia and Sevilla he has won just five of his 20 games against the Merengues (D1 L14) including a 2-0 defeat in the 2014 UEFA Super Cup with Sevilla FC.
• Ángel Di María made 124 Liga appearances for Madrid between 2010 and 2015, scoring 22 goals, and was named man of the match as the Merengues lifted their tenth European title in 2014 with a 4-1 victory over neighbours Club Atlético de Madrid.
• Dani Alves was in the Juventus team beaten 4-1 by Madrid in last season’s UEFA Champions League final; Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice with Casemiro and Marco Asensio also on target for the Merengues.
• Draxler’s VfL Wolfsburg beat Real Madrid 2-0 in the first leg of the 2015/16 quarter finals; he was also in the side that succumbed to a Ronaldo hat-trick in a 3-0 second-leg turnaround in Spain.
• Raphaël Varane’s fifth game in the RC Lens first team was a Coupe de France tie at Paris in January 2011; his side lost 5-1. Varane did help Lens to a 0-0 Ligue 1 draw at the Parc des Princes the following month.
• Karim Benzema faced Paris seven times during his time in France with Lyon (W4 D2 L1). He was part of the Lyon team that beat Paris 1-0 in the Coupe de France final in May 2008.
• Marcelo scored Madrid’s goal in a 3-1 defeat by Paris in an Ohio friendly in 2016.
• Alphonse Areola helped Villarreal CF to a 1-0 Liga win against Madrid in December 2015 during a season-long loan spell at the Yellow Submarine.
• International team-mates:
Casemiro, Marcelo & Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Dani Alves, Lucas Moura, Neymar (Brazil)
Raphaël Varane & Layvin Kurzawa, Adrien Rabiot, Kylian Mbappé (France)
Toni Kroos & Kevin Trapp, Julian Draxler (Germany)
• Have played together:
Borja Mayoral & Julian Draxler (VfL Wolfsburg 2016)
Sergio Ramos & Dani Alves (Sevilla FC 2003–05)
• Have played in France:
Karim Benzema (Olympique Lyonnais 2005–09)
Raphaël Varane (RC Lens 2010/11)
• Have played in Spain:
Yuri Berchiche (Real Valladolid CF, 2009/10, Real Unión 2010–12, SD Eibar 2012–14, Real Sociedad 2014–17)
Neymar (FC Barcelona 2013–17)
Alphone Areola (Villarreal CF, 2015/16)
Dani Alves (Sevilla FC 2002–08, FC Barcelona 2008–16)
Thiago Motta (FC Barcelona 2001–07, Club Atlético de Madrid 2007/08)
• A Germany team including Trapp, Kroos and Draxler drew 2-2 against France, who fielded Mbappé, Rabiot, Varane and substitute Kurzawa, in a friendly on 14 November 2017.