Barcelona vs PSG: It’s Messi vs Mbappe Tonight! …A battle with implications for the present… and future

Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain do battle tonight as the Champions League knockout stages commence with a heavyweight clash.

The injury to Neymar has left the visitors to the Camp Nou without their talisman, though Mauricio Pochettino still has one star player to call on in attack.

Kylian Mbappe will be looking to get one over on Lionel Messi, who remains the best player in the world, though many see the Frenchman as his successor.

Although they find themselves at different ends of their careers, the two forwards are at similar crossroads at their clubs, with both being linked with departures in the near future.

Those of a Real Madrid persuasion will be keeping a keen eye on Mbappe, who has been courted by Florentino Perez for some time.

On the other side of the coin, Messi is taking on one of the clubs that have been mentioned as one of his possible future employers in PSG.

In that sense, the result of this knockout tie could be decisive in persuading the Argentine whether to swap the Camp Nou for the Parc des Princes.

Messi’s proposed arrival in Paris could spell the end for Mbappe, who may be allowed to move on if PSG are able to snare their main target.

While Messi would be heading to PSG in search of one last shot at the Champions League, his younger counterpart would be leaving in search of a new opportunity to be king of Europe after three seasons of failure in the competition.

What’s more, helping PSG knock Barcelona out of the Champions League – possibly sealing Messi’s exit in the process – would help Mbappe’s case at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

This is the first time Messi and Mbappe come face to face at club level. Their only previous encounter came at the 2018 World Cup, when the future of football dealt the knockout blow to the team that included the present of football.

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