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, David Alaba, Eder Militao
Real Madrid, David Alaba, Eder Militao (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Right Back – Achraf Hakimi (PSG)

The selection of Achraf Hakimi for the right-back position is perhaps the simplest of the other eleven. Unlike the goalkeeper position, where the battle was close, the disparity between Hakimi and Real Madrid’s Dani Carvajal is enormous for this season, to say the least. The Moroccan was outstanding against Los Blancos and was the sole cause of Vinicius Jr’s problems on the wing. Meanwhile, Carvajal was Kylian Mbappe’s worst victim for the full 90 minutes, as the Spaniard was repeatedly pressed on his flank.

Right Centre Back – Eder Militao (Real Madrid)

Eder Militao is one of the few players who has stepped up magnificently to fill the vacancies created at Real Madrid by the exits of some of the club’s finest players in recent years. The Brazilian defender has had a significant impact in keeping Real Madrid atop the league rankings, several points ahead in the race, due largely to his ability to defend the ball.

The competitor is PSG’s Marquinhos, who has done everything correctly but not flawlessly in order to surpass Militao. Why am I saying this? I am not, but the numbers are. The current season has been exceptional for both centre backs, but Militao possesses practically everything that his national teammate lacks.

Real Madrid’s representative has intercepted 55% of all incoming dribbles, while Marquinhos has seized 48%. Militao has a pressure success percentage of 36%, while the PSG defender has it at 31%. The largest difference between the two is in tackles and interceptions, with Militao again triumphing with a total of 100 Tckl+Int, well exceeding Marquinho’s 53.

It is way clear who gets to make it to this XI.

Left Centre Back – David Alaba (Real Madrid)

After suffering investment losses with the likes of Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic, David Alaba has emerged as Real Madrid’s most smart investment in recent years. The new #4 has done everything right in order to keep the team from feeling Sergio Ramos’ loss, both defensively and as a leader.

While the Austrian is somewhat better defensively than PSG’s left CB Presnel Kimpembe, he is also, as previously stated, a tremendous leader for every side he plays for. Alaba is Real Madrid’s voice and a key personality who, via his forceful persuasion and words, holds the back four together.

And defensive leadership is the one thing the French side is missing since Thiago Silva’s departure, which explains their defensive flaws in league play.

Left Back – Nuno Mendes (PSG)

Nuno Mendes has had a good season so far, and his place in the combined XI is certain as a result of Ferland Mendy’s repeated injuries and instability in 21/22. The PSG defender is a competent defender who was at his best against Real Madrid. He caused problems for Asensio and the tracking midfielders, making it difficult for them to break through.

The statistical difference between the two is small but significant enough to conclude that Mendes has outperformed Mendy this time. The Portuguese may not be considered one of the finest LBs in the world right now, but for the sake of our combined XI, he has all the tools to outrun the Real Madrid defence.