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Champions League: 5 reasons Real Madrid will proceed to Quarter Finals tonight

The Champions League returns tonight with Champions Real Madrid visiting the Parc des Princes as they come to town looking to confirm their passage to…

The Champions League returns tonight with Champions Real Madrid visiting the Parc des Princes as they come to town looking to confirm their passage to the quarter-finals of this year’s tournament.

Los Blancos come with an impressive record in this competition, both over the course of their history and in the most recent editions.

Here are reasons the Spanish giants will have a smooth sail tonight:


Cristiano Ronaldo is back

Real Madrid are coming with the rejuvenated Cristiano Ronaldo, the king of this competition.

The No.7 has scored in all seven of his Champions League appearances this season a total of 11 goals, two of them in the first leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, which Real Madrid won 3-1.

He always delivered in the Champions League but has also been scoring domestically in recent weeks and has now bagged 14 goals in his past eight outings.

When he is on the pitch, Real Madrid seem to score, especially in this competition.

The last time Los Blancos didn’t score at least once in the Champions League was in the semi-finals of 2015/16, when Ronaldo wasn’t present and when Manchester City kept them out.

It should also be kept in mind just how special the city of Paris is to Ronaldo, as it was in the French capital that he won Euro 2016 with Portugal and it was at the Eiffel Tower that he was presented with the 2017 Ballon d’Or.


Neymar will be missing in action

You can’t deny the fact that Neymar has been involved in half of PSG’s goals this season.

He doesn’t only provide goals, but Edinson Cavani – who he’s assisted seven times – and Kylian Mbappe – who’s benefited from four assists – will miss him.

The Brazilian triples the number of successful attempts from Cavani by 111 to 32 in terms of crosses and dribbles, though he does also lose the ball twice as often, 0.4 per game to 0.9.

His likely replacement Angel Di Maria adds danger as he creates corners, with 31 so far this campaign, only behind Mbappe.

But he does only create a chance from a corner less than 10 percent of the time.

Without Neymar, who has been involved in four of the eight goals PSG have scored in the first 15 minutes of games, the likelihood of an early blow is reduced to 8.6 percent.

Especially critical are the first 15 minutes of the first half, when it is most likely to see a goal from either team.


Real Madrid are the defending champions

Despite the fact that it took them 12 years to go from 9 Champions League titles to 10, they have won three in the last four seasons.

Another thing of note is that the Blancos have been atrocious in the league at times. Even in the Copa del Rey, they got knocked out at the Bernabeu by a lowly Leganes. In the Champions League, however, they somehow seem to sneak out victories.

One could perhaps say that Real Madrid have lady luck smiling on them when they play in the most prestigious competition of Europe—and in the first leg against PSG, we saw just that.


Zidane has Kroos and Modric back

There is a good chance that Luka Modric and Toni Kroos will start tonight having been passed fit and included in the matchday squad. They have trained with the team just once since the past week or so and will understandably be a bit off the pace in Paris. However, their inclusion in the team is a major boost for the champions.

Kroos and Modric are the heart of this Madrid team and without them or with them not being a 100% fit, Los Meringues will not possess the same predatory instinct.

Madrid have other midfielders such as Isco or Matteo Kovacic who may be able to do damage from the bench.

Though, PSG dominated the midfield cauldron in the first leg and the trio of Verratti, Rabiot and Celso worked well in tandem. They will obviously be looking to assert themselves in the game tonight but the visitors will stand a better chance with the return of the duo.


The pressure is on PSG

PSG will be under pressure as they play in front of their fans who definitely want a better outing in the Champions League this season having spent a lot on new recruits.

The French side brought in Kylian Mbappe and Naymar in world record deals, though that of Mbappe will only be formalised this summer.

The expectation is that these huge investments will translate to a better outing in the elite competition and with a 3-1 deficit going into the second leg, the fans will be hoping for the unusual tonight.

3-0, 5-0 and 7-1 were the score lines when PSG hosted the Champions League group games this season. In 19 home games this season, PSG have scored 76 goals. That comes down to an average of four goals per 90 minutes. Add it to the fact that Paris Saint Germain have not even drawn a single game at home, let alone losing it in any competition makes it even more difficult for them to replicate against Real Madrid.

This Paris outfit are under pressure to present an outstanding display to wow the faithfuls when Madrid come knocking tonight.

However, this may not be as easy as it looks. Real Madrid are the defending champions and are expert in navigating through difficult terrains as this. If PSG come attacking, they run the risk of exposing their defence to counter attacks and the hosts will do well not to concede at home tonight.

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