Verratti: PSG ‘ready for Real Madrid’

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Verratti: PSG ‘ready for Real Madrid’

The midfielder believes he and his team-mates are ready for the challenge of their midweek Champions League last 16 tie

Marco Verratti thinks he and his Paris Saint-Germain team-mates are ready for their Champions League with Real Madrid, while manager Unai Emery has not decided on the XI he will name for the last 16 showdown.

PSG beat Toulouse 1-0 on Saturday, the Ligue 1 leaders claiming victory as Neymar returned to action after sitting out the midweek Coupe de France win over Sochaux and scored the game’s only goal.

Focus now shifts to Wednesday’s Champions League first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Verratti, who came off the bench in the win, believes PSG are set for the challenge.

“I think we’re ready for Real Madrid, it’s a very important game, very important for the season,” Verratti told Canal Plus after the win.

“It’s huge for us, for the players for the supporters, we’ll be up against a great team in a great stadium. We need to focus.

“I think it’s a 50-50 tie between us and Real Madrid, they’ll give everything they’ve got great players. We’ve got great recruits with Kylian [Mbappe] and Neymar.”

Verratti will be expected to be named in the starting XI but there is plenty of debate surrounding who will play with him in central midfield.

Thiago Motta returned from injury to play in the Coupe de la Ligue win over Rennes and the defeat of Sochaux but was not in the squad to face Toulouse.

Adrien Rabiot, Giovani Lo Celso and January acquisition Lassana Diarra played in a midfield three at the Stadium Municipal.

But Emery kept his cards close to his chest as to who will be in the XI in the Spanish capital.

He told Canal Plus: “I know everyone wants to know who will play on Wednesday but the important thing for me was today and, most importantly, the victory.

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“We will train for another three days, we will prepare well and we will decide quietly, without haste.”

After insisting he does not know who will be in his team Emery was asked if PSG are ready for the challenge, to which he replied: “Yes, with one player or another.”

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