One of the biggest storylines heading into the Champions League clash between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain is the prospect of seeing Kylian Mbappe at the Santigo Bernabeu.
The Frenchman dreams of playing at the iconic stadium and is expected to be a Real Madrid player come June.
However, he arrives in Madrid on Wednesday intending to eliminate Los Blancos from the competition. Mbappe scored in the first leg at Parc des Princes to give his side a slender 1-0 advantage and is certainly the most dangerous player in the French setup.
Anticlimactically, the World Cup winner suffered a knock in training a few days back. He was suspended for the game against Nice, though, which ought to have given him time to recover.
According to reports from Goal France, Mbappe will test himself during his team’s last training session on Tuesday before taking any decision.
He has a good chance of making it into the starting lineup against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, but he will have to push hard to make it happen. The striker is planning to play through the pain to be involved in the action.
The Frenchman has been one of the most important pillars in Pochettino’s setup this season, especially in the Champions League. In the European competition, Mbappe has scored five goals and provided four assists in just seven games.
Real Madrid trail by a goal and will need to win by at least a two-goal margin to secure a place in the next round. The absence of the away-goal rule will come as a big relief to the Madrid-based side, especially when players like Mbappe are on the opposition team.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.