WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Kylian off the tie
For the second time in four years Paris Saint-Germain take a 4-1 first-leg lead over Barcelona in the Champions League, so is La Remontada II on the way? No chance.
Barca ask Pique, Alba, Busquets and Roberto for huge pay cuts - report
There is an utterly different feel this time around, thanks in part to the fact Kylian Mbappe did all the business away from home – on Lionel Messi’s turf, no less.
You look at PSG and have to wonder if they’re currently everything Barcelona wish they were. Despite their recent upturn in form under Ronald Koeman the hosts were utterly outclassed by a team with a top-quality manager and quite possibly the best player on the planet.
The Warm-Up could well be eating some words come March 10, but for that rendezvous surely it won't be a case of déjà vu, and now PSG not only have the chance to dump Barca out next month but also pinch Messi come the summer too. And if Messi requests a one-way ticket to Paris after that filleting, who could blame him?
That said, the Argentine may have to be willing to play second fiddle if he fancies a stint in Paris, although it would be fitting for the Messi-Mbappe passing of the baton to take place while playing together in the French capitaL.
THAT said, a certain Portuguese will have watched events in Paris last night and thought no one steals the limelight in his favourite tournament.
Cristiano Ronaldo took that personally. So expect the Juventus forward to do something about that tonight.
What goes around comes back around
You know what they say, clangers even themselves out at the end of the season, so after gifting the opposition of late Liverpool will have been delighted to receive a couple of presents themselves from Leipzig on Tuesday night.
First it was Marcel Sabitzer playing a through ball for Mohamed Salah, then it was Nordi Mukiele’s misjudgement allowing Sadio Mane a free run on goal, and two goals later Liverpool have themselves a comfortable first-leg lead.
Just what the doctor ordered, as far as Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp are concerned, while Curtis Jones’s stock continues to rise after another fine performance in midfield.
Besides being in that bracket of players who always gets the full-name treatment, Curtis Jones is not only going to be some player, he already is, and shows a maturity that defies his 20 years on this planet – all basically on Merseyside.
Get him on the plane? Too soon, perhaps, but he’s a proper central midfielder, meaning England’s future in that position also looks bright, on top of their wealth of attacking talent.
All aboard the summer centre-back merry-go-round
David Alaba is leaving Bayern Munich in the summer. Sergio Ramos could be doing likewise with his Real Madrid contract expiring too.
Joshua Kimmich, David Alaba mit dem Klub-WM-Pokal und Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (v. l. n. r.)
Image credit: Getty Images
So while you have uncertainty around where Messi could head next, and even Sergio Aguero, there is set to be a summer scramble for some of the best centre-backs in the game as well.
It’s easy to forget Alaba is still only 28, and he feels like the perfect replacement should Ramos’ time at Real be coming to an end, but securing his services may not be so easy if other clubs are sniffing around.
IN OTHER NEWS
Kasper & The Corset
You hear the one about the video analysis piece where Kasper Schmeichel was "the only Premier League player who, underneath his shirt, wears a corset"?
You know, the one where journalist Jiri Hosek claimed the Dane "is a keeper who has had problems with his healthy lifestyle,” and that “a tough manager that favours athleticism would probably want Schmeichel to lose five or 10 kilos"?
Yeah, well, it was all part of a bizarre preview from Leicester's upcoming Europa League opponents Slavia Prague, and has led to an apology from the Czech club's chairman...
Jaroslav Tvrdik said on Twitter: “The games against Leicester will be a special occasion. We approach them with a great respect for the club and its players.
“We are sorry that some of the opinions put forward could have been interpreted as offensive. It was not our intention. We are looking forward to both games.”
And, well, the video is still up...
IN THE CHANNELS
Now you don't see this every day...
Happy birthday to Michael Jordan, Ed Sheeran, Paris Hilton, but most of all, happy birthday to PES and 2000s legend Adriano. We discussed his unfulfilled potential last year, but below just enjoy The Emperor’s best moments in the Champions League. Power 99.
We go again in the Champions League with Porto taking on Juventus and Sevilla facing Borussia Dortmund. But wait, there’s Premier League action too, with Burnley hosting Fulham and Everton taking on leaders Manchester City in a match which could see the visitors extend the gap to 10 points at the top.
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