Friday, May 26, 2017

Paris Saint-Germain v Real Madrid: Ibrahimovic ready to face ´one of the best´

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 19 Oct 2015

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is confident Paris Saint-Germain are ready for their encounter with a Real Madrid side he has described as “one of the best teams in the world”.

Top spot in Group A will be up for grabs at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, the two clubs having both taken maximum points from their opening two fixtures with victories over Shakhtar Donetsk and Malmo.

PSG have only lost to Spanish opposition on home soil twice in 12 matches. The most recent such encounter was a 3-1 defeat to Barcelona in last season’s quarter-finals – the stage they have been eliminated from in the past three seasons.

But Ibrahimovic – who became the French club’s all-time leading scorer on 110 goals following a double against Marseille, before adding a further two in the 2-0 win over Bastia on Saturday – insisted they are ready to test themselves against one of the greatest sides in football once more.

“Against Real Madrid it will be completely different [to the Bastia match],” the Swede said.

“We’ll be playing at home, against one of the best teams in the world – it will be nice.

“Now we can focus on that match – we’re ready.”

Goalkeeper Kevin Trapp could be fit to start despite missing the match against Bastia with a thigh injury, but Salvatore Sirigu will remain between the posts if coach Laurent Blanc decides not to risk the German.

Marco Verratti is available following a calf problem while attacker Angel di Maria, who was part of the Madrid side that won the Champions League in 2013-14, and Thiago Motta are expected to return after being rested on Saturday, but David Luiz (knee) remains absent.

Like Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo became the leading scorer for his club at the weekend, netting his 324th goal in a 3-0 victory over Levante.

Madrid have won their last three clashes with French sides, scoring nine goals without conceding in the process, and have been boosted by the return of Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric.

The defender has recovered from a shoulder injury he aggravated against Atletico Madrid and the midfielder was back in group training after picking up a muscle strain while representing Croatia in the international break.

Gareth Bale was ruled out of the game on Monday after being diagonsed with a calf injury.

Karim Benzema, Pepe and Dani Carjaval did not participate in a training session on the same day, so coach Rafael Benitez may be forced to deploy Danilo at right-back.

The Brazilian made his first appearance in over a month against Levante, and he has called on whoever is selected to play at their maximum in Paris.

“It will be a difficult game. They are a great side, but we are ready to play,” Danilo said.

“Having so many injuries is difficult but we have players to replace them and those that play have to give 100 per cent.”

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