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PSG defender claims he already knew about Kylian Mbappe’s renewal

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Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images

The phrase ‘Se Queda’ became infamous ahead of Neymar’s move to PSG from Barcelona. Gerard Pique posted a photo of him with the Brazilian prior to his €222 million move to Paris and used the phrase as a caption, which directly means “He stays”.

Needless to say, the tweet aged like milk for the Spanish defender.

While the defender told the world that Neymar would stay through those words, the player eventually ended up leaving the Catalan side soon after. When asked about Mbappe’s renewal with PSG by Movistar Futbol via MARCA, Achraf Hakimi chose to reference that very instance by saying,

“Good for Kylian. I should have done the selfie like Pique. As I am friends with him, I already knew about it from a few days.”

On the night of May 21st, the Frenchman revealed to the world that he would renew his contract in Paris until 2025. It was a big victory for PSG who had been fighting a bitter war with Real Madrid for over a year to secure Mbappe’s continuity.

Hakimi’s words bring to light that the World Cup winner had made his decision comfortably in advance. However, Pochettino revealed earlier today that the defender was the only one who knew about Mbappe’s renewal.

Since he joined PSG in 2017 from Monaco, Kylian Mbappe has scored 168 goals in 216 games. In 35 league appearances last season, he found the back of the net on 28 occasions and also provided 17 assists.

Ironically, Hakimi is a former Real Madrid player himself before he was loaned to Borussia Dortmund in 2018. He soon made his way to Inter Milan, and his success in Italy won him a move to PSG in 2021.

He has now become a regular starter under Mauricio Pochettino and is considered amongst the top right-backs in world football.

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Matches

Camavinga, Tchouameni start in a 4-3-1-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Barcelona

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to get a step closer to lifting the La Liga title when they face off against FC Barcelona later tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid are currently seated atop the league table, eight points clear of Barça in second place. And another win tonight would stretch the lead to 11 points, all but guaranteeing their coronation as Spanish champions.

It will not be easy with Barcelona motivated after their defeat against PSG in the UEFA Champions League while fatigue could also be a factor after Los Blancos toiled it out for 120 minutes against Man City earlier this week.

Heading into the game, Real Madrid have one fitness concern as Ferland Mendy did not train on Saturday due to some overload in his left leg, although he was included in the squad list by Carlo Ancelotti.

Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba are the only injury-enforced absentees for the league leaders and here’s how Real Madrid could line up tonight against Xavi Hernandez’s side.

Starters

Fresh off his penalty shootout heroics against Manchester City, Andriy Lunin will guard Real Madrid’s goal again and hope to help his team to another crucial victory.

Antonio Rudiger has been in brilliant form this season and is a guaranteed starter at the heart of the Merengues’ defence. The German international should pair up with club captain Nacho Fernandez to stop Robert Lewandowski & co.

Even though there has been some chatter about Lucas Vazquez starting at right-back, Dani Carvajal is expected to get the nod as usual.

Mendy’s possible absence, however, could pave the way for Eduardo Camavinga to start at left-back for Real Madrid, with Ancelotti likely to trust the French midfielder in a makeshift role over Fran Garcia.

Camavinga could fill in at left-back. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Aurelien Tchouameni is back after missing the Manchester City game through suspension and will slot in as the defensive midfielder against Barcelona.

Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos will take up the two interior midfield positions for Real Madrid while Jude Bellingham will operate as the lone attacking midfielder.

However, it will not be a surprise to see Real Madrid transition into a 4-4-2 with Valverde and Bellingham moving out wide on the right and left flanks, respectively.

Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. are the undisputed starters up top in attack, with the former likely to operate from the left after his recent success while the latter will play slightly more centrally.

Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Lunin, Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Camavinga, Tchouameni, Valverde, Kroos, Bellingham, Vinicius, Rodrygo.

Substitutes

Brahim Diaz and Luka Modric are players that Carlo Ancelotti counts on from the bench for every game and that will not change tonight against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Joselu is also an option that Ancelotti could turn to if he wished to change things up in the attacking unit.

Eder Militao could also get some minutes, depending on the game situation, as Ancelotti hopes to get the Brazilian into match-rhythm in time to face Bayern Munich.

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