3 Individual battles that will decide PSG vs. Real Madrid on Tuesday

Real Madrid vs. PSG, Kylian Mbappe (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Real Madrid vs. PSG, Kylian Mbappe (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) /
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Dani Carvajal, Real Madrid
Dani Carvajal, Real Madrid (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

2. Kylian Mbappe versus Dani Carvajal

Kylian Mbappe had to stay put at PSG after the never-ending transfer saga couldn’t find a conclusion last summer. Despite that, he will have a chance to showcase his skills at the Santiago Bernabeu this season. And the man who is tasked to stop him will be Dani Carvajal.

Carvajal has had a tough couple of seasons full of injuries. When fit he is not only defensively sound but a bonafide presence in offense. However, his main objective on Tuesday will be to contain Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe poses the biggest threat to Real Madrid’s defense without a doubt. His explosiveness and speed can leave defenders squandering. Carvajal will have to be positionally precise. Mbappe can run the wing-backs ragged with his searing acceleration. Carvajal will find himself in 1v1 situations quite often which will make or break the scoreline of the match.

Ironically one upside of facing Mbappe on the flanks is that he does not track back that often to aid his wing-back. If Carvajal exploits the space that Mbappe leaves then the right-wing suddenly becomes a productive flank for Real Madrid. Carvajal can not only put incisive crosses into the box but also play short passes towards the edge of the box.

Mbappe has faced Real thrice- twice in the 2018 Champions League round of 16 and once in the group stages of the 2019-20 edition. On all these occasions Carvajal has been able to limit his impact. But Mbappe is a different beast now. He is more direct and clever whereas Carvajal is not in his pomp.

Nevertheless, it promises to be a riveting battle on that flank, one which could well decide the outcome of the tie. Will Mbappe triumph in his final battle against Real Madrid or the wily old fox Carvajal get the better of him?