Doha Ready for “Clash of the Titans”
DOHA: A Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain tie is always special. The reasons are many, but the primary one could be the presence of two world-class players — Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
If Real are arguably the best in the game’s history, PSG are fast catching up, with incredible support from the Qatar Sports Investments. Their combined line-ups are worth hundreds of millions and boast top-notch players from around the world. But still, it is the presence of Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic that gives the teams an air of authority.
The football world knows that. The tickets for Thursday’s tie at the Khalifa International Stadium have long been sold out and it should be an electric atmosphere and an interesting encounter.
Carlo Ancelotti was instrumental in rebuilding PSG, who regained the Ligue 1 title and progressed until the quarterfinal of the Champions League under him last season, but this time, the Italian will be challenging his former wards from the Real dugout.
“It could very well be the Champions League final even, but it’s only a friendly. It’ll be our first game of the new year and we want to make use of it to fine-tune our preparations for 2014,” said PSG striker Ibrahimovic.
He should be having several thoughts while going into the Doha duel. The last time he and Ronaldo faced off in the World Cup qualification play-off, the Portuguese upstaged Ibrahimovic and steered his country past Sweden into the World Cup finals in Brazil.
It will be the second time the clubs meet in six months after Real emerged 1-0 winners in a pre-season friendly played in Gothenburg, Sweden, last July.
While Real would be without injured Gareth Bale and captain Iker Casillas, PSG are expected to assemble the likes of Edinson Cavani, Thiago Silva and Thiago Motta for the high-profile fixture.
Both sides are making use of their mid-season winter break. While Real will return to league action on Monday, Ligue 1 will resume on January 11.