Tonight's game: Four PSG players to watch
Manchester United welcome French champions Paris Saint-Germain to Old Trafford tonight (Tuesday) for what promises to be a mouthwatering UEFA Champions League last-16 first-leg clash.
The Reds will be looking to take a positive result from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first European game in charge as caretaker manager into the second leg, which takes place at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday 6 March.
Despite being without key forwards Edinson Cavani and Neymar, PSG will provide a tough test. Ahead of the 20:00 GMT kick-off, we've picked out four members of Thomas Tuchel's squad - one in each position - for you to keep an eye on...
Unquestionably one of the greatest keepers in the history of the sport, Gianluigi Buffon is still playing at the highest level at the age of 41. His senior career started at Parma back in 1995, where his commanding presence between the sticks led to Juventus paying £33m for his services in 2001 – a world-record fee for a keeper that remained until 2017.
After 17 years, 656 appearances and nine Serie A titles in Turin, the Italian made the move to PSG last July, and in Paris he looks well on course to take his tally of league titles to 10. A World Cup winner in 2006 – the year in which he was also a Ballon d’Or runner-up – Buffon is yet to taste success in tonight’s competition, having reached the final in 2003, 2015 and 2017.
“Every year, I always thought it could be the right year, but it’s now 24 years since I first tried to win the Champions League,” he said earlier this month.
PSG captain Thiago Silva is into his seventh term at Parc des Princes, where his distribution and composure from the heart of defence have proved vital to his team’s domestic dominance.
Already a Brazilian international before an inevitable move from Fluminense to the European game was finalised in 2009, at AC Milan he would make a significant impact as the Rossoneri won their first league title in seven years in 2010/11.
Along with future United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Silva made the switch from Milan to Paris in the summer of 2012, with 14 winner’s medals coming Silva’s way since then – five in the league, four in the Coupe de France and five more in the French League Cup.
Much like Buffon, the 34-year-old will be craving a Champions League medal for the collection before he retires, and tonight he’ll be hoping for a better result than when he last faced us: the Reds beating AC Milan 4-0 in the 2009/10 Champions League Round of 16, to complete a 7-2 aggregate victory for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
A two-footed winger who is equally comfortable in an attacking midfield role, Julian Draxler was long linked with a move to the Premier League throughout eight successful seasons in Germany with Schalke and Wolfsburg, but Paris was his destination of choice in the 2016/17 winter transfer window, with former boss Unai Emery bringing him to the club.
So far this term Draxler has struggled to build on two strong opening seasons in France, with PSG’s no.23 only completing 90 minutes once during the Champions League group stage. Nevertheless, he’s continued to contribute to the cause, with his powerful charges into the opposition half often difficult to stop.
On the international stage, Draxler was part of the Germany squad that won the 2014 World Cup and reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016, while he captained Germany to silverware in the 2017 Confederations Cup – a tournament he was awarded the Golden Ball trophy in as the competition’s best player.
He only turned 20 in December, but Kylian Mbappe can already consider himself among the current game’s leading lights, with two Ligue 1 titles and a World Cup success on his CV.
After rising to stardom at Monaco – where he scored 27 goals in 60 games – he became the most expensive teenager in history following his arrival at PSG in the summer of 2017, initially on loan for a season.
Back in the city of his birth, Mbappe registered 21 goals and 15 assists during a superb debut season, in which PSG won the domestic treble. He’s also seamlessly transferred his club form on to the international scene, becoming only the second teenager after Pele to score in a World Cup final as France lifted the trophy in Russia.
The wonderkid’s stock has continued to rise as he enjoys another stellar season, passing the 20-goal mark for PSG before the end of January. And with Neymar and Edinson Cavani both out, there is further reliance on Mbappe to provide the spark in the attacking third.