Real Madrid and Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso believe that Los Blancos will relish the idea of playing against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
The 36-year-old who retired at the end of last season, after a rather bountiful career in Germany, Spain, and even England, believes that his former club will have preferred the challenge that PSG provides rather than an easier last-16 tie. During his club career Xabi Alonso was more than successful winning trophies wherever he left to play football, and even won the Champions League twice once with Liverpool and once with Real Madrid.
However, with the reigning champions drawn against Unai Emery’s star-studded team after a second place finish behind Tottenham denied them a seeded berth. But despite that, Zinedine Zidane’s men did face a few problems during the group stage, mainly against Tottenham haven only managed to snatch a point from the Premier League club, having comfortably beaten both Borussia Dortmund and APOEL in both games.
In an interview, with UEFA.com after the draw Xabi Alonso went on to say “Madrid like big challenges and they got just that. It will be a wonderful challenge against Paris. It is one of those games that you really like, and that those who go to the Bernabeu like to see.
It is tough to say who might be favorites, even though that means nothing at the end of the day. I am backing Madrid.”
However, while odds do seem against PSG especially given the fact that manager Unai Emery has never won any of his last ten games at the Santiago Bernabeu, the Parc de Prince side does have a star-studded line-up with the likes of Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe leading their front line.
PSG will face Real Madrid in the round of 16 in the Champions League. ??
Who will win?? pic.twitter.com/E5opYdW2sG
— Neymar Jr. (@Neymarvellous) December 11, 2017
But the Parisians will also beware of the fact that the last time the two sides met, they ended up eventually 3-1 winners in the International Champions Cup in 2016. There will be other factors to look forward to as well, with the fact that Neymar has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid, Kylian Mbappe was linked before his move to PSG and a return to the Bernabeu for former Los Blancos attacker Angel Di Maria.
The Ligue 1 outfit have shown sheer class and quality at times to overwhelm their opponents at times, but despite that, they could have a tough time facing Real Madrid. While Xabi Alonso’s former side have struggled for form in the La Liga, both them and star man Cristiano Ronaldo’s form has been exceptional baring the 3-1 loss to Tottenham.
It should be an absolutely thrilling and eye-catching two legs, easily one of the games to watch.