Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has been named in the squad for the Champions League last-16 second leg clash with Real Madrid on Wednesday despite nursing a sore left foot.
The 23-year-old World Cup winner was kicked in the foot in training on Monday but had a “reassuring” medical check-up. The club said he would have a final examination on Tuesday.
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Mbappe would be a huge loss were he not to play as he scored the only goal in the 1-0 victory over 13-time European champions Real in the first leg in Paris last month.
If he is fit, he could be facing his future club as Real seem to be in the driving seat to sign him when his contract expires in June, although PSG still hope to persuade him to stay.
With some star power likely missing, Carlo Ancelotti and Mauricio Pochettino will have tinkering to do for the decisive encounter.
While Mbappe is a doubt, Madrid are likely to be without Toni Kroos because of a muscle problem.
Madrid, are certain to be missing Casemiro due to suspension and may not also count on a fully fit Federico Valverde after a bout of flu.
Setting up the midfield will be no easy task for Ancelotti, as Casemiro plays a key role in keeping the Spanish team balanced. The absence of Kroos would hurt the team more offensively than defensively, as the German veteran helps the team transition into attack. Kroos returned to training but a decision on whether he will play likely won’t be made until Wednesday.
Young Frenchman Eduardo Camavinga will likely go into the midfield alongside Luka Modric and possibly Valverde, who missed the Liga game against Real Sociedad at the weekend.
Madrid’s midfield issues will likely make it easier for Lionel Messi, who gets another good chance to finally come through with a big performance for PSG and live up to his status after joining from Barcelona. He will take over most of the spotlight if Mbappe can’t play.
Pochettino used former Madrid forward Angel Di Maria along with Neymar in attack, and Di Maria is likely to play again if Mbappe can’t make it. The Argentine played under Ancelotti in the coach’s first stint with Madrid.
Madrid eliminated PSG at this stage in 2018 en route to winning the title for the third year in a row, although the French club came out on top in the two previous knockout encounters between the teams.
Madrid are the record 13-time European champion, while PSG are seeking their first Champions League trophy.
A crowd of 60,000 — the biggest since the coronavirus pandemic started — is expected at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, which remains below its full capacity because of renovation work.
In Wednesday’s other clash, Manchester City are all but booked in the quarter-finals as they hold a 5-0 advantage over Lisbon ahead of the second leg at the Etihad.