Nyon, Monday @PeopleSports11
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid will continue their bid for a first European Cup treble in 40 years against Neymar’s Paris Saint-Germain after the big-spending duo were on Monday drawn together in a mouth-watering Champions League last 16 clash.
No club has won the European title three years running since Bayern Munich in the mid-1970s, underlining how big an achievement it would be if Madrid 12 times winners overall won the trophy again in the final in Kiev in May.
They know exactly what it takes to be European champions, and in Ronaldo have the most prolific goal-scorer in the competition’s history. Emilio Butragueno, a Real director and former striker, regretted that one of the favourites would be eliminated so soon in the competition.
“For the potential of the two teams, luck has worked out this way and one of the two teams will be out at the last 16 stage, which we think is a bit soon taking into account they are two of the contenders for the title,” Butragueno told BeIN Sports Spain.
PSG made waves in the transfer market in the close season when they signed Brazilian star Neymar for a world-record 222 million euros ($261.5 million), followed closely by great French hope Kylian Mbappe, who will cost 180m euros when his loan deal becomes permanent next summer.
“Every summer they have signed great players, they get stronger all the time and they have had a nearly impeccable group stage,” acknowledged Butragueno.
“With Neymar and Mbappe they have improved a lot up front, they are a very dangerous team who will demand the best of us. We need to face both games like finals and for the fans it will be a thrilling tie.
“Mbappe and Neymar are very dangerous. We need to play at our best, but we can’t forget this team has won the Champions League twice, we hope to have all the injured players back and the key is who has the luck over two games.” -AFP