PSG-FC Barcelona, ​​reunion between two close rivals of the competition

Paris Saint-Germain faces FC Barcelona, ​​one of its most recurring opponents in the Champions League, in the quarter-final first leg of the competition this Wednesday April 10 at the Parc des Princes. A new clash between two clubs linked by a particular rivalry on the European scene and which this time should offer a confrontation aimed at youth.

Published on: 04/09/2024 – 8:25 p.m. Modified on: 04/09/2024 – 8:35 p.m.

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It’s an event that we’re starting to get used to on the European scene. Paris Saint-Germain meets FC Barcelona, ​​its emblematic rival, in the quarter-final first leg of the Champions League this Wednesday, April 10 at the Parc des Princes. And since football often has surprising destinies in store, Luis Enrique will this time give his instructions from the Parisian bench, he who was the Barça coach when the Catalans inflicted the terrible “Remontada” on the Parisians one evening in March 2017.

Since this terrible disillusionment, which inevitably resurfaces with each new confrontation between the two clubs, PSG has nevertheless had time to take its revenge by winning in particular against Barcelona in the round of 16 (5-2 cumulative score) during the campaign 2020-2021. But the Parisians are still chasing their first title in the competition and are still looking for a way to break the glass ceiling which deprives them of the famous Big Ears Cup.

While a new cycle began last summer on the Parisian side – notably with the departures of former Barcelona players Messi and Neymar, whose move to PSG did not take the expected turn – Luis Enrique arrived in the French capital to take the reins of a club which no longer wishes to make the Champions League a “ obsession », after the disappointments accumulated in recent years.

But despite the Spaniard’s efforts to downplay the importance of the competition and his desire to rebuild a collective, the prospect of a historic treble (Champions League, Ligue 1 and Coupe de France) still within their reach is enough. galvanize Parisians. Even more so with the possibility of facing Atlético de Madrid or Borussia Dortmund in a possible semi-final, solid opponents but probably less frightening than Manchester City, defending champion, or Real Madrid, the most title in the history of the competition.

Youth at work in each camp

Before getting there, PSG will have to be convincing for their first real test of the season, after having escaped with difficulty from the group of death during the group stage and having won their round of 16 without trembling against Real Sociedad (4-1 aggregate score). Facing him now stands Barça, five-time winner of the competition but who have not had success since 2015 during the Enrique era.

This new confrontation should give pride of place to youth on each side, since PSG will be able to count in particular on its young nuggets Bradley Barcola (21 years old), Warren Zaire-Emery (18 years old) or even Vitinha (24 years old) who follow each other good services with Paris. A former Barcelona player who arrived at PSG this summer, Ousmane Dembélé will return to his former club for the first time this April 10, he who has scored 40 goals in 185 matches for the Catalan club but who has stagnated at just one goal scored this season with PSG, despite thirteen assists made in all competitions and an undeniable contribution on the attacking front. Kylian Mbappé, leader of PSG, will also want to mark the club’s history for what is certainly his last season in Paris before his probable departure to Real Madrid next summer.

In the opposite camp, Barcelona coach López (20 years old), Pau Cubarsí (17 years old) and the impressive Lamine Yamal (16 years old), who is walking on water at the moment and has largely contributed to the Catalan club’s current good run.

A face-to-face between two former Barça players

Another, more personal duel will take place during this quarter-final between Parisians and Barcelonans. Luis Enrique knows Xavi well, who was both his teammate on the pitch (1998-2004) and his captain when he coached Barça (2014-2015). The two men share the same playing principles, so much so that “Lucho” did not hesitate to define himself as the best representative of “ the spirit of Barça ».

« Ball possession, goals, pressure, titles, trophies. I represent Barça best even if others think differently (…). I don’t know Xavi as a coach, he was my player. I know the club very well but I don’t know if it will be an advantage “, he explained. “ We want to ignore the pressure “, also declared the Spaniard, he who knows better than anyone that the PSG match will also be played in people’s heads and therefore worked to ideally launch the Parisians’ European evening: ” Barcelona have won five titles, we have none. There is no way they are more motivated than us. There is no pressure, but the ambition is total ».

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