Former England goalkeeper David James feels Real Madrid will have their backs against the wall when they face Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday at the Parc des Princes. Despite praising Real Madrid for their rich pedigree in the competition and the quality players in the team, the former Manchester City and Liverpool shot-stopper said that PSG are special team and can trouble the 13-time champions if their star-studded front three of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jr can be at their best.
“We are talking about a top-quality side in Real Madrid but there’s going to be threats for them, irrespective of who they play, or the oppositions drops off or not. PSG can win this tie because they are special but that doesn’t mean Real Madrid aren’t a good side. They do have the ability to score. But PSG have multiple players who have the ability to score, so even if you (the opposition) score, they have the quality to go through,” David James told NDTV Sports during a press interaction organised by the Sony Sports Network.
“At their best, I can say PSG will win this match but Real Madrid will all their experience are used to being in this situation. But this year, Mauricio Pochettino has got this defensive side of their game. So, if Messi, Mbappe and Neymar will be at their best, they will cause difficulties to Real Madrid,” he added.
Beauty of European football
Further during the interaction, James also spoke about his former team Manchester City, who were beaten in the final of the Champions League last year by Chelsea.
Manchester City, who have been a dominant force domestically over the decade or so, have failed to get their hands on the elusive Champions League trophy.
On being asked about the reason behind their inability to replicate that success in European continental competitions, James said: “If you look at the success, a lot has gone right for them. I don’t think things have gone necessarily wrong for them given the level of competition in the Champions League; the quality of the opposition and the likes of Real Madrid dominating for four years. It’s just the beauty of European football that a side can dominate their domestic league but not in Europe. But every season that goes past without the Champions League, the questions will still be there.”
“There are teams in the EPL; the likes of Liverpool who can challenge Manchester City for all the titles and even win four trophies and eclipse their success. Nothing wrong, but they’re definitely finding it difficult to win that last trophy,” he added.
Watch UEFA Champions League 2021-22 (Round 16 – 1st Leg): Paris vs Real Madrid – LIVE on SONY TEN 2 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels on February 16, 2022, from 1:30 am IST.
Watch UEFA Champions League 2021-22 (Round 16 – 1st Leg): Sporting CP vs Man City – LIVE on SONY TEN 1 (English) channels on February 16, 2022, from 1:30 am IST.
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