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PSG vs Barcelona – Combined XI ahead of CL clash

Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona lock horns in the Champions League quarter-finals this evening, a star-studded showdown at the Parc des Princes.

Both teams are packed full of talent and will be confident of reaching the latter stages of this competition, having avoided the tournament favourites on the other side of the draw.

Ahead of their clash in the French capital, we’ve selected our Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona Combined XI:

Goalkeeper: Marc-André ter Stegen – Barcelona

Barcelona reclaimed La Liga last season with a phenomenal defensive record, with Marc-André ter Stegen appearing unbeatable on occasion.

The German led Europe’s top five leagues for clean sheets (26), clean sheet percentage (68.4%) and save percentage (84.1%) in arguably the best season of his decorated career in Spanish football. Ter Stegen combines brilliant reflexes with elite distribution, attributes which rank him among the best shot-stoppers in world football.

Manuel Neuer’s presence with the national team has perhaps prevented Ter Stegen from receiving the plaudits he deserves, but the 31-year-old is undoubtedly world-class.

Right-back: Achraf Hakimi – Paris Saint-Germain

The Moroccan marauder has evolved into one of the finest full-backs in football at PSG, bombing forward with intent as an all-action outlet for Luis Enrique’s side.

Still just 25, Hakimi has already earned Team of the Season inclusions in the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1, winning three league titles across those divisions. Earlier, he won a Champions League at Real Madrid and the Spaniard side’s decision to allow him to leave is one that must surely still rankle.

On the international stage, he has been the leading light of Morocco’s history-making generation, as the Atlas Lions became the first African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals in 2022.

Centre-back: Marquinhos – Paris Saint-Germain

Marquinhos has spent over a decade at PSG with the Brazilian an integral part of the club’s domestic dominance in Ligue 1. The club captain is a commanding and calm presence in central defence, where his aggressive determination in duels and recovery runs adds security.

After 28 trophies for Les Parisiens to date, the 29-year-old will be desperate to end the club’s elusive wait for a European coronation this season.

Centre-back: Ronald Araujo – Barcelona

Ronald Araujo’s performances have seen European clubs consider activating a release clause of €100m in his contract at the Camp Nou. The Uruguayan is quick across the ground and good in possession, with the 25-year-old often tasked with shutting down the opposition side’s chief threat.

His duel with Kylian Mbappe could be crucial to Barcelona’s hopes of progress, though Araujo is one booking away from a suspension.

Left-back: Joao Cancelo – Barcelona

Joao Cancelo has been invigorated since leaving Manchester City for Barcelona last summer, excelling in the colours of the Catalans after a fall-out at the Etihad.

The Portugal international is exceptional on either flank, where he offers invention in the final third and immaculate technical ability in tight areas of the pitch. Barcelona will be doing all they can to ensure Cancelo’s loan is made permanent in the summer.

Midfield: Frenkie de Jong – Barcelona

Midfield looks like an area of the pitch that will be decisive in this tie and Barcelona appear to hold the edge in terms of experience. Frenkie de Jong will be looking to exert control, with the Netherlands international a metronomic figure in the middle of the pitch.

The 26-year-old ranks in the 99th percentile of central midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues for attempted passes (93.84), pass completion (91.8%) and progressive passes (10.53) per game, and in the 98th percentile for progressive carries (3.66). Barcelona will be hoping the Dutch dictator can stamp his authority on the clash,

Midfield: Ilkay Gundogan – Barcelona

Ilkay Gundogan departed Manchester City for Spain last summer in search of a new challenge, having captained the Citizens to treble success. He has become an indispensable part of the Barcelona side under Xavi, creating more chances (82) than any other player in La Liga.

The German has won it all at club level and his know-how on this stage could be the difference in what promises to be a tight tie.

Right-wing: Lamine Yamal – Barcelona

Lamine Yamal should not be this good at 16.

But, somehow, he is.

This campaign, the 2007-born record-breaker has become a regular in the Barcelona team and a full Spain international in the process, providing seven goals and assists in 29 league appearances.

The winger will be aiming to make Champions League history against PSG this week when he can become the first 16-year-old to score in the competition. On the evidence of his early impact, don’t bet against it.

Left-wing: Ousmane Dembele – Paris Saint-Germain

Ousmane Dembele will come face-to-face with his former club this evening.

Dembele signed for PSG from Barcelona for a fee of €50.4m last summer after an injury-hit spell with the Spanish side. The fragility of the Frenchman was perhaps all that prevented him from becoming a true star at the Camp Nou, with his end product, when fit, elite.

He led La Liga for assists in 2021/22 (13) despite starting just 15 games and leads Ligue 1 for goals created (8) so far this season. The 26-year-old will be the chief creative source for a forward line including Kylian Mbappe and Randal Kolo Muani.

Forward: Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain

The Champions League hopes of Paris Saint-Germain are pinned on Kylian Mbappe, as the club target a perfect farewell to his time in French football.

Mbappe will leave PSG in the summer as the club’s record goalscorer, having hit 251 goals in 300 appearances for the capital club. He is heading towards a sixth straight leading scorer accolade in Ligue 1 and has 39 in all competitions so far this season.

Barcelona are well aware of the threat the Frenchman poses, after an electrifying Mbappé hat-trick in a Champions League meeting between the teams in 2021.

Forward: Robert Lewandowski – Barcelona

Robert Lewandowski might be reaching the conclusion of his career in Catalonia but the forward remains a reliable source of goals. The 35-year-old is Barcelona’s leading scorer (13) and assist provider (8) in La Liga so far this season, enhancing a legacy that saw the Poland international break Bundesliga records at Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski has now breached 20+ goals in all competitions in 13 consecutive campaigns and is closing in on becoming only the third player – after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – to reach 100 Champions League goals (94).

Read – Iconic Performances: Neymar inspires ‘La Remontada’

See more – Ranking the five best right-wingers in the world right now

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