A combined XI for Real Madrid vs. PSG: Did Lionel Messi or Vinicius Jr. make the front three?

Real Madrid vs. PSG (Photo by Visionhaus)
Real Madrid vs. PSG (Photo by Visionhaus) /
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Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois
Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid are set to host Paris Saint Germain at the Santiago Bernabeu for the final settlement of their Round of 16 tie with the French club. Down by a goal, Real Madrid would not want to leave any stone unturned in the process of making a comeback.

The outcome of the game – whether in favour of Real Madrid or not – will have many repercussions. It will most definitely define Carlo Ancelotti’s future with Real and thus that of other managers whose names are on the tentative list.

Paris Saint-Germain, on the other hand, who are already looking extremely strong despite their recent loss vs. Nice without Kylian Mbappe, will be eager to get ahead of the hosts and quench their passion for the coveted Champions League title.

Players on both sides are fierce competitors and masters of their respective positions, but it is natural for a player on one side to outperform his counterpart on the other. To get a better sense of the situation, let’s create a combined XI of Real Madrid and PSG that features the best players in every position on the field.

(All stats mentioned in this article are courtesy of FBRef.com.)

Goalkeeper – Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)

Thibaut Courtois is the ideal pawn for the goalkeeper position in every way since the Belgian is now at the pinnacle of his career with Real Madrid. Courtois is unquestionably the finest goalkeeper in the world right now, as I have stated before and will say again.

Gianluigi Donnarumma, who is superb in his own right, is up against Courtois, at least for the time being. The Italian is undeniably a fantastic goalkeeper who recently won the Euro Cup, but Courtois is a step or two ahead of him.

The Belgian is now firmly established at Real Madrid, starting games on a routine basis, whilst Donnarumma is still trying to obtain playing time over Real’s former goalkeeper Keylor Navas at PSG. Goalkeepers have traditionally relied on consistency, and Courtois definitely outperforms Donnarumma in this regard.

In the Champions League, the Real Madrid goalkeeper maintains a score of just 0.57 goals scored against per 90 minutes while his Italian counterpart lags behind with a statistic of 0,75 goals scored against per 90 minutes.

Another specific statistic for GKs that delves deep into his talents is post-shot expected goals per shot on target (PSxG/SOT). This type of data represents the predicted goals depending on the goalkeeper’s likelihood of saving the shot. A higher score implies that the shots are more likely to hit the net than be saved. Courtois (0.24) once again outperforms Donnarumma in this category (0.27).

As previously demonstrated, the gap between the two players is not huge, but it is also not zero, with Real Madrid’s #1 obviously superior to the other candidate.