Real Madrid hosts PSG while Liverpool visit Porto

Written By: BBC/Hunja Macharia
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Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is “not thinking about his future” before Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Paris St-Germain.

Last season Real became the first team to retain the Champions League and won La Liga for the first time since 2012.

This term they are already out of the Copa del Rey and fourth in La Liga, 17 points behind leaders Barcelona.

“There will always be pressure here, it’s something habitual, but I’m going to keep enjoying myself,” said Zidane.

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Real warmed up for the game at the Bernabeu with a 5-2 win against Real Sociedad, Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick.

“Right now I’m not thinking about my future,” said Zidane, who succeeded Rafael Benitez as manager in January 2016.

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“I’m only thinking about the game as it’s the only thing we can control so we’re focusing on preparing for the game and we’ll see what happens.”

Real and Brazil left-back Marcelo has backed his manager, saying the players “believe” in the Frenchman.

“He’s a great coach. It’s true we’re not in the situation we want to be but he’s doing everything to get us back to where we were,” said Marcelo.

“He’s very patient, he believes in his work and we believe in him and his work.”

PSG’s squad is the second most expensive (behind Manchester City) and includes the world’s most expensive player, £200m forward Neymar.

The Brazilian will come up against the current Ballon d’Or winner and all-time Champions League top scorer Ronaldo.

“We are talking about two great players, but tomorrow is a Real Madrid-PSG, not a Neymar against Cristiano,” Zidane added.

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“We do not want to see a duel between them but between Real Madrid and PSG.”

Meanwhile Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino wants to make Porto “suffer” in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie.

Wednesday’s game at the Estadio do Dragao will be Liverpool’s first match in the knockout stages of the competition since 2008-09.

They topped their group scoring 23 goals, a record for an English club and a total surpassed only by Paris St-Germain’s tally of 25.

Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius will keep his place ahead of Simon Mignolet,

“I don’t know if Porto are going to be afraid but we are going to make their life difficult and make them suffer,” said Firmino, who has scored 20 goals in all competitions, including six in the Champions League.

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Midfielder Emre Can is suspended for the tie, defender Joe Gomez has travelled with the squad after missing the last two matches with a knee injury while £75m record-signing Virgil van Dijk is set for his first appearance in the competition for the club.

Klopp insists his side can compete with the continent’s elite, having beaten “Europe’s strongest football team” Manchester City 4-3 in the Premier League in January.

“I know it already, we can compete with them, I don’t have to look at them, “Klopp added.

“Now we have to show that we are not only part of the competition, we are quite ambitious. That is how it is and we have to take it seriously.”

 

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