CL Preview: Zlatan hosts CR7 as PSG take on Real

Both the Manchester clubs are also in action tonight as United travel to Moscow to face CSKA while City host Sevilla.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the all time top scorer of the UEFA Champions League with 82 goals.   -  REUTERS

Real Madrid vs. Paris Saint-Germain means it’s Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Two of the best forwards in the game meet Wednesday in the Champions League when Madrid travels to Paris with the Group A lead at stake.

Ronaldo has recently broken Raul Gonzalez’s all-time scoring record for Madrid with his 324th career goal for the 10-time European champions. Ibrahimovic did the same for PSG. The Sweden striker had another two-goal game in the French league last weekend and is the club’s all-time leading scorer with 112 goals in all competitions.

“Ronaldo is among the two extraterrestrial players of the planet football,” said PSG coach Laurent Blanc, comparing the Portugal forward to Lionel Messi. “There won’t be an anti-Ronaldo plan, because he is unstoppable, but we can do a lot to make sure he gets as little balls as possible.”

PSG, who lost in the quarterfinals to Barcelona last season, are waiting on the fitness of goalkeeper Kevin Trapp and will be without injured defender David Luiz, but should see the return of midfielder Marco Verrati alongside Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi.

A seemingly endless spate of injuries means Madrid will more than ever look to Ronaldo to lead the way at the Parc des Princes. Gareth Bale picked up a left-leg muscle injury in Madrid’s 3-0 win over Levante on Saturday, while striker Karim Benzema returned from international duty with France with a hamstring pull.

Their knocks leave Ronaldo all alone in attack. Madrid coach Rafa Benitez opted to support his star with young forwards Jese Rodriguez, Lucas Vazquez and Borja Mayoral.

Modric and defender Sergio Ramos made the trip to Paris, while the injured Pepe, James Rodriguez and Dani Carvajal will miss the match.

Fortunately for Madrid, Ronaldo is as good as it gets in Europe. The Portugal forward is the competition’s all-time leading scorer with 82 goals.

Both PSG and Madrid have six points from their first two matches.

Instead of keeping players fresh, Manchester United can’t take any risks as they travel to Russia to take on CSKA Moscow.

All four teams in Group B have three points from two Champions League matches, leaving United little room to rest players ahead of the Sunday’s derby against Manchester City.

United lost at PSV Eindhoven in the opening round, making the match against CSKA more important. The Moscow club took four points off City in the Champions League last year, but CSKA has long-standing defensive troubles in Europe.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has acknowledged that his team must improve their Champions League home form ahead of Wednesday’s encounter with Europa League holders Sevilla.

City are level on points with Sevilla after two games and with last season’s beaten finalists Juventus three points clear, a shootout for second place in Group D is already taking shape.

City lost 2-1 to Juventus in their opening match at the Etihad Stadium and have won only three of their last 12 home games in the competition, but while aware of their travails on home turf, Pellegrini says minds are fixed only on defeating Sevilla.

“I don’t know the exact statistics, but they are the numbers and of course we must improve,” he told Tuesday’s eve-of-match media conference. “But we are just thinking about one game, not what happened in the past. We play against a difficult team and we hope we can win.”

Sevilla’s struggles in La Liga continued on Saturday as they drew 1-1 at Eibar, which left them 12th in the table with just two wins from eight games. However, they have shown their ability to rise to the occasion as one of those victories came against European champions Barcelona.

Coach Unai Emery, shortlisted for the FIFA World Coach of the Year award on Tuesday, said that City will not be excessively diminished by the absences of Aguero and Silva. “We judge the XI City are putting out. We don’t wait for the players that are missing,” he said.

Wednesday’s fixtures

Group A: Paris St. Germain vs Real Madrid; Malmo FF vs Shakhtar Donetsk

Group B: CSKA Moscow vs Manchester United; VfL Wolfsburg vs PSV Eindhoven

Group C: Atletico Madrid vs FC Astana; Galatasaray vs Benfica

Group D: Manchester City vs Sevilla; Juventus vs Borussia Monchengladbach