Champions League | Barcelona vs PSG No Neymar at Camp Nou
Paris Saint-Germain were big favourites to progress when they were drawn against Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League in December.
The Catalans had just surrendered top spot in their group with a home humbling at the hands of Juventus, while Thomas Tuchel’s side had recovered from a difficult start in their own group.
In the weeks that followed, rumours and speculation grew over a possible switch to PSG for Lionel Messi, whether in January or in the summer.
Angel Di Maria was one of several PSG players to flirt with the idea. “I think there’s a great chance,” he said in response to a question about his compatriot joining him in Paris.
Ronald Koeman and the remaining members of Barcelona‘s temporary board were angered by these comments, but they kept focus of the task at hand.
In January and February, Barcelona‘s form has taken a turn for the better. Other than a Copa del Rey defeat to Sevilla, they’ve put together an impressive run of results.
Saturday’s 5-1 win over Alaves at the Camp Nou, with Messi at the helm, was the latest display that served as encouragement for the Blaugrana fans.
As for PSG, they’ve changed coach since that December draw. Mauricio Pochettino has replaced Tuchel in the Parc des Princes dugout.
Despite recent wins against Nimes, Marseille, Caen and Nice, the Parisians haven’t convinced with their style of play.
Now, they head to the Camp Nou without Neymar, who has picked up an injury at this stage of the Champions League yet again.