Real Madrid pulled off the unthinkable as they pulled off their two-goal deficit and powered their way through to the quarter-finals with a 3-2 aggregate win over Paris Saint-Germain.
Coming into this game on the back of a 1-0 lead, PSG looked imperious in the first half, after initially enduring a dodgy start to the proceedings. They put pressure on the Real Madrid backline, asking questions in the final third.
The pressure was rewarded when Kylian Mbappe capitalised on a quick counter-attack to make it 1-0, thus extending PSG’s overall lead to two goals heading into half-time.
However, a second-half masterclass from the Real Madrid team saw the hosts make an extraordinary comeback, with Karim Benzema grabbing a hat-trick to put Los Blancos in the ascendancy.
Speaking to the media after the game, PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino questioned the role of VAR, blaming the technology for his side’s shocking defeat.
“Real Madrid’s first goal changed the match. I wonder what the VAR is doing because for me there is something else. It’s a shame, when you see the action, there’s a fault,” said Pochettino (h/t Madrix Xtra), referring to the incident prior to the first goal that saw Benzema closing down Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The PSG goalkeeper was dwelling on the ball for too long, causing him to concede a dangerous turnover inside the box. Vinicius Junior grabbed the opportunity with both hands, putting it on the plate of Benzema for the equaliser.
The PSG players were seen complaining to the ref, with Donnarumma even getting a yellow card. But the referee nor the VAR opted to overturn the decision, which seemed like the right call at the end.
The shocking elimination from the Champions League could be consequential for Pochettino, who has faced fierce criticism for his mismanagement of players at PSG. It appears the Argentine could on his way out of Parc des Princes in the summer, amid interest from Manchester United, as per ESPN.
Real Madrid may look to sell 24-year-old star if top target arrives in the summer – report
Real Madrid are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to assemble an even stronger squad for the upcoming campaign.
Kylian Mbappe and Alphonso Davies are the club’s top targets in that regard, for the two new signings will be regular starters and bonafide difference makers on the field for Los Blancos.
The latter, in particular, arrives to reinforce a position where none of Carlo Ancelotti’s current options are convincing. Fran Garcia and Ferland Mendy have both had their hiccups at the left-back position for Real Madrid, leaving the position open for Davies to take over.
A potential departure
As revealed by MARCA, Davies’ arrival next season will jeopardise Garcia’s importance in the team for the Canadian will be the manager’s first choice by a mile.
Moreover, Ancelotti is said to be in favour of renewing Mendy, implying that Garcia will practically be his third choice.
Come summer, Garcia could thus be sold if the club receive an offer that they can make money off. Considering that they shelled out €5 million last summer for his incorporation, any offer north of that mark could do the job.
In 18 appearances and 11 starts in La Liga this season, the 24-year-old has provided four assists for Los Blancos. Interestingly, he has started just one of Real Madrid’s last six games across all competitions.
As revealed earlier this week, Real Madrid have reached a verbal agreement with Alphonso Davies. An agreement with Bayern Munich over a transfer fee could be a difficult proposition, however.
As such, it is unclear if Los Blancos will make the move for Davies this summer at a subsidised fee or wait until next year when the player will be a free agent.
Garcia’s future, needless to say, depends on their plan of action on the Davies front.