Marcha 23, 2018

Zidane: Bale is still 'crucial' part of Read Madrid's plans

12 Marcha 2018, 04:18 | Gerardo Tarin

Paris Saint Germain winger Angel Di Maria had a night to forget against former club Real Madrid

Paris Saint Germain winger Angel Di Maria had a night to forget against former club Real Madrid

But the conquest of Europe remains a pipe dream. In truth, it was over long before that. He was wanted by the owners, rather than desperately needed by the team.

He missed the second leg of PSG's round-of-16 tie against Real Madrid due to an ankle injury and Les Parisiens looked bereft of any attacking nous without him.

At a time when political bullies are turning into cartoonish Bond villains, it's somewhat reassuring that certain football bullies are failing. We have been programmed to feel this way.

They are currently third in La Liga, 15 points behind leaders Barcelona, and are long since out of the Copa del Rey.

And although heavy spending has made PSG a powerhouse nationally, it will take much more planning to make them a true power in the Champions League. "It was a key series".

Can you see Neymar returning to Barcelona? The Brazilian is a left-back but his positioning is so high up he's really virtually a winger.

But beyond personnel changes, Auclair sees a club that has plenty of soul-searching to do.

Because we know Neymar's approximate salary - reportedly around $50 million - we can say that PSG was paying roughly $85 million for Neymar's first campaign in Paris. "We made a lot of mistakes in terms of our concentration".

Zinedine Zidane brushed aside Unai Emery's Champions League challenge by sticking to the collective emphasis that has served Real well in recent seasons.

There is a precedent for the Parisians overturning a 3-1 deficit against Real, and Ginola remembers it well - he scored as the French side beat the Spanish giants 4-1 in their UEFA Cup quarter-final second leg in 1993.

Three of his latest goals came in the 5-2 aggregate win over Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League. The red card was produced without hesitation, summing up a PSG performance that was at times ragged and ill-disciplined. They are Portuguese and proud and will give a fight.

Justifiably the Uruguayan is volleyed with criticism for his inability to make a big impact when it matters most - last season's Champions League final a prime example. "We tried but we couldn't do it". "Ten years later it's €222m... in 10 years time or even earlier than that, they might spend €400m".

Zidane told a press conference: "Gareth is not lacking anything".

Cristiano Ronaldo was showing signs of age earlier in the season. "The margin for error is minimal".

He might have been sent off early on had he connected with a kick at Dani Alves, who did him a favour by forgetting to throw himself to the floor. He was gifted the ball after midfielder Adrien Rabiot dealt poorly with Lucas Vazquez's cross.

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