On Monday, it was revealed that Paris Saint-Germain would play Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. We also learned that Real Madrid will play Manchester City in the knockout phase. The result of both ties could have massive implications for Los Blancos and Les Parisiens heading into next season.
For PSG, their tie against Dortmund is a must-win situation. Last season’s loss to Manchester United in the Champions League was a scar on the club and the 6-1 loss to FC Barcelona under Unai Emery in 2017 was even worse. Given the squad and their experience, there are no excuses left for Tuchel or anyone else.
PSG will be the considerable favorites to defeat Dortmund and advance to the quarter-finals but a loss would likely mean the end of Tuchel’s tenure at PSG. There’s no other way to sugar coat it. Tuchel would be in Emery territory with two early exits in the Champions League and with Mauricio Pochettino likely available, it would be very easy for sporting director Leonardo to find a replacement.
Like Tuchel, Kylian Mbappé’s future very much depends on if PSG can advance past Dortmund and also how Real Madrid performs against Manchester City.
The Spanish giants have been very clear about their intention to go after Mbappé next summer. From their players to the manager, everyone at Real Madrid wants the 20-year-old forward to call the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium home next season.
Unfortunately for Zinedine Zidane, his team finished below PSG in Group A and as a result, face a very talented Manchester City side. It’s certainly conceivable that Real Madrid could crash out of the Champions League in the Round of 16 for the second consecutive year.
Last season, Real Madrid lost 5-3 on aggregate to AFC Ajax—a team with kids barely old enough to shave. Talented, yes, but very inexperienced and they stood up to the 13-time Champions League winners and knocked them out.
Now, Real Madrid did win the Champions League from 2015 to 2018, but Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t walking through that door and Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos, and Sergio Ramos aren’t getting any younger. If you’re Real Madrid, what exactly are you selling Mbappé that PSG can’t match?
Just this season, PSG proved to be the better team by defeating Real Madrid 5-2 on aggregate over two games in the group stage. Look at the two squads and on paper, PSG has every bit as good of a team as they do if not better. Let’s also not forget that Mbappé is from Bondy, a suburb of Paris.
All Mbappé cares about is winning trophies. He’s won every trophy in France plus a FIFA World Cup in 2018. If he wins the Champions League this season and adds Olympic gold and a UEFA Euro title this summer with France, he will no doubt be awarded the Ballon d’Or.
Everything the Frenchman wants can be achieved on home soil at PSG where he plays alongside his friend Neymar Jr. and is in line for a significant pay raise. If Real Madrid loses to Manchester City and PSG advances, I think that’s a really hard sell for Madrid to convince Mbappé that they are worth leaving PSG for.
The madness begins on February 18 when PSG travels to Signal Iduna Park and on February 26 as Real Madrid hosts Manchester City.
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