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Tension grows between Real Madrid and PSG 50 days before the tie of the century

The Champions League last-16 tie between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain is a matter of huge importance for each club. Europe's elite club competition is on the line, and at the moment there's a lot more than sporting rivalry between them.

Fifty days out from the game, there's a lot of tension between the two clubs, most of that centred around Kylian Mbappe and his expiring contract at the Parc des Princes. There's also the matter of the European Super League and each club's relationship with UEFA.

Who is in the better position?

Both are dominating their respective domestic leagues this season, and few are doubting that they will both go on to be crowned champions come May. But both teams are giving off very different impressions.

Carlo Ancelotti is leading a team without any real superstars at Real Madrid, while Mauricio Pochettino is having to manage egos in Paris, and the side don't appear to be at their best yet. Lionel Messi hasn't fully settled, Neymar is out injured, Mbappe's contract is expiring, Sergio Ramos hasn't got going, and Gianluigi Donnarumma has been struggling to take Keylor Navas' place between the sticks.

In the table, both have 46 points from 19 games so far, with 14 wins, four draws and one loss. Real Madrid topped their Champions League group while PSG were runners-up behind Manchester City.

The Mbappe case is heating up

This Saturday, January 1, Kylian Mbappe will be free to sign a contract with Real Madrid. It's not likely to happen as soon as 2022 arrives, but PSG aren't happy that the player hasn't given them much hope of agreeing a renewal.

PSG believe that Real Madrid have played dirty with Mbappe, adding more spice to an already-heated tie.

Of course, Mbappe isn't going to make any moves until after the game against Real Madrid has passed. The two games are on February 15 and March 8, so nothing will happen before then. For now, though, it's likely that he'll be a Los Blancos player on July 1.

Financial Fair Play, UEFA...

Real Madrid and PSG no longer share a good relationship off the pitch. While Los Blancos pushed for the Super League and against Financial Fair Play, the French club took UEFA's side.

Ramos' return, Messi at the Bernabeu, and the Mbappe case...

Sergio Ramos' return to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu after having spent 16 years there is an obvious storyline, and his exit to PSG came after he had said he would never join a club competing against Real Madrid. Now, though, he could well do just that. A lot still depends on his fitness.

There's also the small matter of Lionel Messi, who has always been public enemy No.1 at the Bernabeu. The former Barcelona captain has haunted Real Madrid so many times before, and he'll look to do that again this season.

On top of that and the Mbappe case, there is the narrative around former Real Madrid players Keylor, Angel Di Maria and Achraf Hakimi, too.

Fifty days to prepare

Real Madrid and PSG now have 50 days to prepare for the tie. Los Blancos have almost no injuries, though they have to move on from their recent COVID outbreak. Should they manage to keep that under control, then Ancelotti will be able to call upon all of his usual starters. Between now and then there's also the matter of the Supercopa de Espana in Saudi Arabia.

PSG, meanwhile, have a lighter schedule to start the year, and they are even planning a mini trip to Qatar this winter.

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