It’s finally here. The game we’ve all been waiting for between Real Madrid and PSG is today. Which players could make the difference in that one, as well as the other Champions League Wednesday match between Porto and Liverpool?
– Winner of four of the past five Ballon d’Or’s, Cristiano Ronaldo is the co-best player in the world. Even the best have down periods, and they’re usually connected to their personal lives. In this case, the Portuguese captain was dealing with the birth of his surrogate twins, as well as a child of his own. Speculations about him wanting to leave Real Madrid and go back to Old Trafford didn’t help either. The best players in any sport hate it when they’re being doubted. They also have the innate ability to come up big when it matters most. Ronaldo’s form has been improving by the game, and it could be peaking just at the right time for Real Madrid – a scary prospect for PSG. He has found the net seven times in the past four La Liga games, and is the leading goal scorer in the CL this season with 9. Don’t count out The Galactico(s) just yet.
– This is the type of match PSG pays Neymar for. The Brazilian comes back to Spain to face the opponent he was taught to dislike the most during his time at Barcelona. That led to some great performances, but also led to many unnecessary confrontations with Real’s players, especially with Carvajal. He will need to keep his cool, even more so if Paris SG finds itself trailing. His teammates will expect him to step up and guide them through this great barrier the draw has set up. He will need to show that he has grown up and is able to control his emotions. The 26-year-old is tied with Cavani for most goals by a PSG player in the Champions League with 6, and trails the Uruguayan by 3 goals in Ligue 1. However, he does have 11 assists, and that’s the area where he can make the difference on Wednesday night.
– The best transaction of the summer and the best purchase in Liverpool history. There aren’t enough compliments to describe Mohamed Salah’s spectacular form this season. He’s the early candidate for World Footballer of the Year (along with Messi) and has given Liverpool fans hope that their team can once again climb to the top of the pedestal. The Egyptian’s scintillating form led his nation to the World Cup and has kept The Reds in play for 2nd place in the English Premiership. With 22 goals, he’s behind only Harry Kane (23) for the league lead in goals. Porto will find out just how unstoppable he is tonight.
– That’s quite the jump, going from three worldwide superstars to a relatively unknown left back from Porto. Well, Alex Telles is one of Porto’s main players, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in a Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, or even a Liverpool jersey in the not too distant future. The 25-year-old is stable defensively, and dangerous offensively. He has shined for Porto this season and his value (€25 million) keeps rising accordingly. The €40 million release clause is keeping suitors away for now, but it won’t be for much longer. The Brazilian is an excellent crosser of the ball and should cause plenty of headaches for Klopp and his players in the first leg of this compelling matchup.