Big Match Feature: PSG v Barcelona

football10 April 2024 08:41
article image

For the fourth time Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona meet in the Uefa Champions League quarterfinals with the French side's coach Luis Enrique aiming to oust the club he guided to their most recent European Cup triumph in 2015.

Barcelona have won the last two of those previous last-eight meetings, in 2012/13 and – under Enrique – in 2014/15 and also earned a record Champions League comeback win against Paris in the 2016/17 round of 16. The French team, however, triumphed in the 1994/95 quarterfinals and also won the last tie between the sides, in the 2020/21 last 16, thanks to an inspirational display from Kylian Mbappé at the Camp Nou.

Paris are in the last eight for the first time in three seasons, while Barcelona reached the quarterfinals in every campaign between 2007/08 and 2019/20 but have not featured at this stage since the latter campaign – when they suffered a record 8-2 defeat by Bayern München in a one-off tie in Lisbon.

The French side were Group F runners-up behind Borussia Dortmund in the autumn but eased past Barcelona's domestic rivals Real Sociedad in the round of 16. Barça, meanwhile, were Group H winners and then ousted Italian champions Napoli in the first knockout round.


Paris wins 4

Barcelona wins 5

Draws 4

Paris goals 21

Barcelona goals 24

The most recent of the sides' 13 fixtures came in the 2020/21 Champions League round of 16, Paris progressing 5-2 on aggregate. The French side did most of the damage in the first leg at the Camp Nou despite falling behind to Lionel Messi's 27th-minute penalty after Frenkie de Jong had been tripped by Layvin Kurzawa. Mbappé levelled within five minutes, however, and gave the visitors the lead in the 65th minute before Moise Kean (70) stretched the lead, Mbappé completing his hat-trick with five minutes left to play.

Mbappé was also on target in the Parc des Princes second leg, giving Paris a 31st-minute advantage from the penalty spot. Messi levelled from long range six minutes later but had a 45th-minute spot kick saved by Keylor Navas and Paris held on.

Barcelona and Paris's previous tie, in the 2016/17 Champions League round of 16, proved one for the ages. The French side looked to be easing through after a 4-0 first-leg win at the Parc des Princes, Ángel Di María scoring twice and Julian Draxler once, only for Barcelona to run out 6-1 winners at the Camp Nou with Neymar scoring twice. A Kurzawa own goal and Messi's penalty also helped the Spanish side turn round the tie, Sergi Roberto scoring the decisive goal five minutes into added time.

Paris and Barcelona faced each other four times in 2014/15. In the group stage, Paris recorded a 3-2 home victory with Marco Verratti on target; Messi and Neymar found the net for Barcelona. When the teams met again on Matchday 6, the Catalan club secured top spot in Group F with a 3-1 home win, recovering from Zlatan Ibrahimović's opener thanks to Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez.

Neymar scored three goals in Barça's 5-1 aggregate win against Paris in that season's quarterfinals, one in a 3-1 first-leg win at the Parc des Princes and both in a 2-0 home victory at the Camp Nou.

In the 2012/13 quarterfinals Barcelona beat Paris on away goals after two draws – 2-2 at Parc des Princes with Xavi Hernández scoring the visitors second goal from the penalty spot and 1-1 at the Camp Nou.

The sides' first Champions League meeting came in the 1994/95 quarterfinals, Paris prevailing 3-2 on aggregate. A 1-1 draw in Spain was followed by a 2-1 home victory at the Parc des Princes, Raí and Vincent Guérin scoring in the last 18 minutes.

Barça won just one of their first six games against Paris – that sole success came in the 1997 Uefa Cup Winners' Cup final, Ronaldo getting the only goal in Rotterdam.



Record v Spanish clubs: W16 D9 L13 F61 A58

Home record v Spanish clubs: W10 D6 L3

This is the second successive round in which Paris have faced Spanish opponents. Second-half goals from Mbappé and Bradley Barcola earned a 2-0 home win against Real Sociedad in the round of 16 first leg, Mbappé subsequently scoring in either half to secure a 2-1 victory in Spain.

The first leg against La Real was Paris's first game against a Spanish club since the 2021/22 round of 16, when Mbappé's 94th-minute goal gave them a 1-0 first-leg win against Real Madrid. Mbappé stretched Paris's aggregate lead 39 minutes into the second leg in Spain, only for Karim Benzema to score a hat-trick in the final half-hour and take Madrid through instead.

Despite wins in three of their last four matches, Paris have managed only six victories in their last 17 matches against Spanish clubs, home and away (D3 L8).

Paris have lost two of their last eight games against Liga clubs at the Parc des Princes (W4 D2); the first-leg defeat of Real Sociedad made it three wins in their last eight home knockout matches against Spanish visitors (D3 L2).

The French club's record in two-legged ties against Spanish sides is W7 L5. This season's success against La Real made it only two victories in their last seven ties.

This is Paris's eighth appearance in the Champions League quarterfinals, where their record is W3 L4:

2020/21: Bayern München W 3-3 away goals (3-2 a, 0-1 h)

2019/20 Atalanta W 2-1 (n)

2015/16 Manchester City L 2-3 (2-2 h, 0-1 a)

2014/15 Barcelona L 1-5 (1-3 h, 0-2 a)

2013/14 Chelsea L 3-3 away goals (3-1 h, 0-2 a)

2012/13 Barcelona L 3-3 away goals (2-2 h, 1-1 a)

1994/95 Barcelona W 3-2 (1-1 a, 2-1 h)

This is Paris's 16th Champions League campaign, level with Lyon's French record. They have featured every season since 2012/13, reaching the knockout stages in the last 12 campaigns.

Runners-up to Bayern in the 2020 final, Les Parisiens were again beaten by the German club in last season's round of 16 (0-1 h, 0-2 a). They had finished second in Group H behind Benfica, picking up 14 points.

Paris began this season with a 2-0 home win against Borussia Dortmund but lost 4-1 at Newcastle United in their next fixture. They then swapped home wins with AC Milan (3-0 h, 1-2 a) before coming from behind to earn 1-1 draws at home to Newcastle and in Dortmund that allowed them to squeeze into the last 16 as Group F runners-up, three points behind the German club.

The wins against La Real in the round of 16 have made it 13 victories in the Parisians' last 29 European matches (D7 L9).

Mbappé has six goals in this season's competition, level with Atlético de Madrid's Antoine Griezmann, Erling Haaland of Manchester City and Bayern forward Harry Kane as the competition's top scorer ahead of the quarterfinals.

Paris have lost only seven of their last 73 European home games (W47 D19), although five of those defeats have come in their last 23 matches at the Parc des Princes.

Paris claimed their 11th French title, and ninth in the last 11 seasons, in 2022/23, finishing one point ahead of Lens at the top of the Ligue 1 table.

The French club replaced coach Christophe Galtier with Enrique in the summer.


Record v French clubs: W14 D7 L6 F55 A38

Away record v French clubs: W4 D5 L4

This is Barcelona's first game against a French club since those 2021 contests against Paris.

Barcelona's record in two-legged ties against Ligue 1 opponents is W5 L4; after losing the first three contests they had won five in row, most recently beating Lyon in the 2018/19 Champions League round of 16 (0-0 a, 5-1 h), before being beaten by Paris in 2020/21.

The Blaugrana's record away to French sides is W4 D5 L4; they have won on only one of their last eight visits to France (D5 L2).

Barcelona's record in European Cup quarterfinals is W15 L7, with five of those defeats coming in the past seven ties:

2019/20 Bayern München L 2-8 (n)

2018/19 Manchester United W 4-0 (1-0 a, 3-0 h)

2017/18 Roma L 4-4 away goals (4-1 h, 0-3 a)

2016/17 Juventus L 0-3 (0-3 a, 0-0 h)

2015/16 Atlético Madrid L 2-3 (2-1 h, 0-2 a)

2014/15 Paris Saint-Germain W 5-1 (3-1 a, 2-0 h)

2013/14 Atlético Madrid L 1-2 (1-1 h, 0-1 a)

2012/13 Paris Saint-Germain W 3-3, away goals (2-2 a, 1-1 h)

2011/12 AC Milan W 3-1 (0-0 a, 3-1 h)

2010/11 Shakhtar Donetsk W 6-1 (5-1 h, 1-0 a)

2009/10 Arsenal W 6-3 (2-2 a, 4-1 h)

2008/09 Bayern München W 5-1 (4-0 h, 1-1 a)

2007/08 Schalke W 2-0 (1-0 a, 1-0 h)

2005/06 Benfica W 2-0 (0-0 a, 2-0 h)

2002/03 Juventus L 2-3 (1-1 a, 1-2 h aet)

2001/02 Panathinaikos W 3-2 (0-1 a, 3-1 h)

1999/00 Chelsea W 6-4 (1-3 a, 5-1 h aet)

1994/95 Paris Saint-Germain L 2-3 (1-1 h, 1-2 a)

1985/86 Juventus W 2-1 (1-0 h, 1-1 a)

1974/75 Åtvidaberg W 5-0 (2-0 h, 3-0 a)

1960/61 Spartak Hradec Králové W 5-1 (4-0 h, 1-1 a)

1959/60 Wolverhampton Wanderers W 9-2 (4-0 h, 5-2 a)

The 2020 defeat by Bayern was Barcelona's 13th successive Champions League quarterfinal, a competition record. They had previously failed to reach the last eight in 2006/07.

A 1-0 victory at Manchester United in the 2018/19 quarterfinal first leg is Barcelona's only success in 11 away Champions League knockout games (D5 L5), since a 2-0 victory at Arsenal in the 2015/16 round of 16. The wins against United and Arsenal are their sole successes in the last 13 such contests, with six defeats.

This is Barcelona's 28th Champions League campaign, a competition record they share with Real Madrid. They have featured every season since 2003/04 and have now reached the knockout rounds for the 23rd time.

Barcelona have twice won the European Cup at Wembley, the venue for this season's final; they beat Sampdoria 1-0 after extra time in 1992 to take the trophy for the first time, and also defeated Manchester United 3-1 in 2011.

The five-time European champions reached the quarterfinals or better every season between 2007/08 and 2019/20, winning the title in 2009, 2011 and 2015, but failed to make the round of 16 in each of the last two campaigns.

Xavi's side were third in their section for the second season running in 2022/23, winning only two of their six games – both against Viktoria Plzeň – and losing three to finish behind Bayern and eventual runners-up Inter. Barcelona failed to score in three of their Group C games.

Barça's subsequent Uefa Europa League campaign lasted only one tie, Manchester United eliminating them 4-3 on aggregate (2-2 h, 1-2 a) in the knockout round play-offs.

This season, the Spanish side kicked off with a 5-0 win at home to Antwerp before winning 1-0 at Porto and beating Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 at home on Matchday 3. Their momentum was halted by a 1-0 loss to the Ukrainian club but qualification was assured with a 2-1 win at home to Porto, although they concluded with another away defeat, 3-2 at Antwerp.

Xavi's side then drew 1-1 at Napoli in the round of 16 first leg before a 3-1 home success, Robert Lewandowski scoring in both matches.

Barcelona have won only 14 of their last 35 away matches in European competition (D10 L11), although they were unbeaten in eight (W5 D3) before losing at Benfica on Matchday 2 in 2021/22. Their away record since is W5 D2 L6.

The Catalan club claimed their 27th Liga title, and a first for four seasons, in 2022/23, finishing ten points ahead of Real Madrid at the top of the standings.


Enrique was Barcelona coach from 2014 to 2017, winning LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League in his first season in charge. Current coach Xavi made his final appearance for the club as a substitute in the 3-1 Champions League final win against Juventus in Berlin.

Enrique guided Barça to two league titles and three Copa del Rey triumphs in his three seasons in charge, also claiming the Uefa Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup in 2015.

The current Paris coach was in charge of Barcelona's B team from 2008 to 2011 and also worked at Celta Vigo in 2013/14, suffering two 3-0 LaLiga defeats against Barça with Celta.

Enrique had scored 109 goals in 300 games in all competitions as a Barcelona player between 1996 and 2004, winning LaLiga in 1997/98 and 1998/99, two Copa del Rey titles and the Uefa Cup Winners' Cup – with a 1-0 final win against Paris in Rotterdam – and Uefa Super Cup in 1997.

Enrique also played for Sporting Gijón (1989–91) and Real Madrid (1991–96); his record against Barcelona was W5 D5 L5.

Enrique and Xavi were Barcelona teammates between 1998 and 2004.

Ousmane Dembélé scored 40 goals in 185 appearances for Barcelona between 2017 and 2023, when he signed for Paris. He won three LaLiga titles, the last in 2022/23, and the Copa del Rey in 2017/18 and 2020/21 with the club.

Born in Vic in the province of Barcelona, Arnau Tenas joined the club in 2010 and stayed until summer 2023, when he signed for Paris. He made 58 appearances for Barcelona's B team.


Keylor Navas (Albacete 2010/11, Levante 2011–14, Real Madrid 2014–19)

Lucas Hernández (Atlético de Madrid 2014–19)

Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid 2017/18)

Fabián Ruiz (Betis 2014–18, Elche 2017 loan)

Carlos Soler (Valencia 2017–22)

Kang-in Lee (Valencia 2019–21, Mallorca 2021–23)

Marco Asensio (Mallorca 2014/15, Real Madrid 2015–2023, Espanyol 2015/16 loan)

Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona 2017–23)

Have played in France:

Jules Koundé (Bordeaux 2017–19)

Raphinha (Rennes 2019–21)

Have played together:

Kang-In Lee & Ferran Torres (Valencia 2018–20)

Carlos Soler & Ferran Torres (Valencia 2017–20)

Lucas Hernández & Robert Lewandowski (Bayern München 2019–22)

Milan Škriniar & João Cancelo (Inter Milan 2017/18)

Gonçalo Ramos & João Félix (Benfica 2018/19)

Danilo was a Porto player in 2015 when João Félix joined the club's youth academy.

Asensio has faced Barcelona 23 times in his career (W8 D4 L11), more than any other club. He has scored twice against them, both in Real Madrid wins in the 2017/18 Spanish Super Cup (3-1 a, 2-0 h).

Carlos Soler scored twice in 12 games against Barcelona (W2 D3 L3) and set up the winner in Valencia's 2-1 Copa del Rey final victory against the Catalan club on 25 May 2019.

On 13 September 2022 Lucas Hernández – whose record against Barcelona is W4 D4 L2 – scored Bayern's first goal in a 2-0 win against the Spanish side in the Champions League group stage.

Lewandowski was in the Bayern team that beat Paris 1-0 in the 2019/20 Champions League final in Lisbon. He has scored once in his five appearances against the French club, in Bayern's 3-1 home win on Matchday 6 of the 2017/18 Champions League.


Presnel Kimpembe, Lucas Hernández, Nordi Mukiele, Warren Zaïre-Emery, Kylian Mbappé, Ousmane Dembélé, Randal Kolo Muani & Jules Koundé (France)

Carlos Soler, Marco Asensio, Fabián Ruiz & Alejandro Baldé, Íñigo Martínez, Marcos Alonso, Gavi, Pedri, Sergi Roberto, Ferran Torres, Lamine Yamal, Pau Cubarsí (Spain)

Danilo, Nuno Mendes, Vitinha, Gonçalo Ramos & João Cancelo, João Félix (Portugal)

Marquinhos, Lucas Beraldo & Raphinha (Brazil)

Manuel Ugarte & Ronald Araújo (Uruguay)

Enrique was Spain coach from 2018 to 2022. Baldé, Martínez, Alonso, Gavi, Pedri, Sergi Roberto and Torres all featured for the national side during his time in charge, when he took Spain to the 2021 Uefa Nations League final and the Uefa EURO 2020 semifinals.

Mbappé scored France's winner in a 2-1 Nations League final victory against Enrique's Spain in October 2021. Alonso, Gavi and Torres all started for Spain.

Gianluigi Donnarumma was Italy's hero in a penalty shoot-out victory against Spain in the last four of EURO 2020. Pedri and Torres started the game for Enrique's side.

Mbappé scored two goals and Lewandowski one as France beat Poland 3-1 in the 2022 Fifa World Cup round of 16.

Andreas Christensen scored Denmark's goal in a 2-1 group stage defat against a France side fielding Mbappé and Dembélé at the 2022 World Cup.



On Saturday, Paris needed a late equaliser from Gonçalo Ramos to rescue a 1-1 draw at home to Clermont.

Luis Enrique made 11 changes for the game, with Senny Mayulu making his first Ligue 1 start and Yoram Zague his first-team debut.

Second-half substitute Kylian Mbappé made his 300th Paris appearance, providing the assist for Ramos's leveller.

The match was Marquinhos's 435th appearance for Paris, equalling the club record held by Jean-Marc Pilorget.

Paris are unbeaten in 23 Ligue 1 games, a 2-3 home reverse against Nice on 15 September their sole league defeat this season in their 28 fixtures. They are two short of the club record unbeaten run in Ligue 1, a 25-match sequence between 3 April and 28 December 2022.

Enrique's side are also unbeaten in 27 games in all competitions (W19 D8), since a 2-1 reverse at AC Milan on Champions League Matchday 4 on 7 November.

Paris have won four of their five games since reaching the Champions League quarterfinals, drawing the other two.

Lucas Beraldo, Paris's only January signing, scored his first goal for the club in a 3-1 win against Nice in the French Cup quarterfinals on 13 March. Kylian Mbappé and Fabián Ruiz were also on target as Paris reached the semifinals for the first time since 2020/21.

Paris were 1-0 winners at home to Rennes in the last four on 3 April, Mbappé scoring the only goal shortly before halftime having had an earlier penalty saved.

Paris will face Lyon in the final in Lille on 25 May.

Mbappé now has 39 goals in 40 club appearances this season.

On 10 March Paris drew 2-2 at home to Reims in Ligue 1, one of only two of their last seven games in all competitions they have not won.

Mbappé scored a hat-trick in a 6-2 win at Montpellier on 17 March, his fourth of the season for club and country. Vitinha, Lee Kang-in and Nuno Mendes were also on target, the latter with his first Ligue 1 goal since 3 September 2022.

Paris were 2-0 winners at Marseille on 31 March despite losing Beraldo to a first-half red card, Vitinha and Gonçalo Ramos both scoring in the second half.

Vitinha has seven goals in 25 league games this season having managed two in 36 in 2022/23. He was an unused substitute on Saturday.

Substitute Marco Asensio set up the second goal at Marseille on his first appearance since recovering from a thigh injury that had kept him out since 1 March.

Milan Škriniar came on as a late substitute at Marseille, his first appearance since suffering an ankle injury in the Trophée des Champions against Toulouse on 3 January.

Marquinhos started the French Cup semifinal against Rennes, the Paris captain having been out since 17 February with a calf injury.

Nordi Mukiele was replaced early on against Clermont on Saturday having suffered a facial injury.

On 20 December Paris announced Presnel Kimpembe has both signed a new contract until June 2026 and undergone further achilles surgery which is expected to keep him out until next season.

Gianluigi Donnarumma saved a penalty in Italy's 2-1 friendly win against Venezuela on 21 March.

On 26 March, Randal Kolo Muani scored his third international goal as France beat Chile 3-2 in Marseille. The Paris forward also provided an assist, as did Mbappé who now has 46 goals and 31 assists in 77 games for Les Bleus.

The same day, Lee provided an assist as South Korea won 3-0 in Thailand in 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifying.

Paris secured their 12th Trophée des Champions, and a tenth in the last 11 seasons, with a 2-0 win against Toulouse 2-0 at the Parc des Princes on 3 January thanks to goals from Lee and Mbappé.

That was Mbappé's 111th Paris goal at the Parc des Princes – a new club record surpassing Edinson Cavani's previous total of 110.

Mbappé scored a hat-trick in a 9-0 French Cup win at sixth-tier side US Revel on 7 January, taking him to 30 Paris goals in the competition – also a new club record.

Mbappé's younger brother Ethan made his Paris debut as a late substitute in a 3-1 Ligue 1 win at home to Metz on 20 December, nine days before his 17th birthday.


Barcelona are unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions (W8 D3) and have won their last four games.

Xavi Hernández's side have won 28 matches in 2023/24, eight of them by a 1-0 scoreline.

Since beating Napoli to reach the Champions League quarterfinals, Barça have won 3-0 at Atlético de Madrid on 17 March – ending their hosts' 25-match unbeaten home LaLiga run – and 1-0 at home to Las Palmas on 30 March.

Barcelona have kept five clean sheets in their last six games in all competitions, conceding only one goal – in the round of 16 second leg at home to Napoli.

Robert Lewandowski is Barcelona's top scorer with 20 goals in 40 games in all competitions; he has 13 in 28 in LaLiga.

Lewandowski's double in a 2-1 win at Celta Vigo on 17 February took him to 50 goals for Barcelona, in only his 79th match. That places him third quickest to reach 50 goals for the club this century after Samuel Eto'o and Luis Suárez (both 68 games).

Ferran Torres was a second-half substitute against Las Palmas, his first appearance since a muscle injury forced his early replacement in a 1-0 home victory against Osasuna on 31 January.

De Jong went off in the first half in a 0-0 draw at Athletic Club on 3 March, his 150th LaLiga appearance, with a sprained right ankle and has not played since.

Pedri has also been out since having to be substituted at the end of the first half in Bilbao with a hamstring injury to his right leg.

Gavi tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and also suffered a meniscus injury in Spain's 3-1 Uefa EURO 2024 qualifying win against Georgia on 19 November.

Alejandro Balde has not played since rupturing a tendon in a 4-2 Copa del Rey quarterfinal defeat at Athletic Club on 24 January.

Andreas Christensen has been out since suffering an Achilles injury in the second leg against Napoli.

Lewandowski helped Poland reach Uefa EURO 2024 with a 5-1 win at home to Estonia in the play-off semifinal on 21 March and a 5-4 victory on penalties after a goalless draw away to Wales in the final five days later, the striker scoring in the shoot-out.

Pau Cubarsí became the youngest defender to play for Spain when he came on to make his international debut in a 1-0 friendly loss to Colombia on 22 March; aged 17 years 60 days, he surpassed Sergio Ramos's record (18 years 361 days). He is also the second youngest player to represent Spain, behind only Barcelona teammate Lamine Yamal.

On 11 February Yamal scored twice in Barcelona's 3-3 at home to Granada to become, aged 16 years 213 days, the youngest player to register a double in LaLiga. He surpassed the record of former Barcelona forward, Ansu Fati, who was aged 17 years 94 days.

Yamal is also the first player to score three LaLiga goals before his 17th birthday.

Already the second youngest player in Champions League history, Yamal became the youngest player to start a match in the competition on Matchday 2 at Porto, aged 16 years 83 days – three days younger than Celestine Babayaro when he played for Anderlecht against Steaua București in November 1994.

On 22 October, teenage forward Marc Guiu came off the bench to mark his senior debut with the only goal in a 1-0 home win against Athletic Club. Aged 17 years 291 days, he was Barcelona's youngest LaLiga debutant to score in the 21st century.

Yamal scored Barcelona's first goal in a 2-2 draw at Granada on 8 October, making him the youngest scorer in LaLiga history at the age of 16 years 87 days.

Yamal also became Spain's youngest player and scorer, aged 16 years 57 days, in a 7-1 win at home to Georgia on 8 September. He is also the youngest EURO goalscorer, beating Gareth Bale's record (17 years 83 days).