Real Madrid will progress to the Champions League quarter-finals because Paris Saint-Germain have a tendency to “s*** the bed”, according to former Marseille midfielder Joey Barton.
PSG’s pairing with Madrid stands out as the draw of the round, with the two European heavyweights both initially expected to go far in the competition.
But one faces the prospect of an early elimination, something that will likely result in intensifying scrutiny over the future of the vanquished head coach, such are the expectations of the clubs.
The first leg takes place in Madrid on Wednesday and Barton expects Zinedine Zidane’s men to ultimately progress based on PSG’s previous poor handling of pressure.
Last season, PSG beat Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of the last 16 before losing 6-1 in a remarkable match at Camp Nou, and Barton thinks Madrid can exploit the memories of that “embarrassment”.
“Real Madrid just have that nous. PSG are a new club whereas Real Madrid have got the most European Cups under their belt,” Barton told Omnisport.
“They’ve got players like [Cristiano] Ronaldo who have been there, done it, got the T-shirt. I think they’re going to have too much for PSG.
“They [PSG] beat Barcelona comfortably and they were amazing in that game in the home leg. Then – in English we have a saying – they s*** the bed in the Camp Nou.
“They should have won the game comfortably. The lack of traditional success at the club makes them soil their pants in Camp Nou and they ultimately go out in embarrassment.
“The mental side of that may run deeper than anyone thinks. Do PSG think they can beat Real Madrid? I think they’ll think they can beat Real Madrid, but you’ve got a team who have won two Champions Leagues in the last three years [sic, three in four].
“You’ve got Zidane who was a World Cup winner as a player. You’ve got players in that group that just know how to win.
“Ronaldo, [Sergio] Ramos, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric – [they’ve] been there, done that. There’s a lot to be said for that.
“Thiago Silva is a top player, but he hasn’t got the same winning mentality as Ramos. You look at Brazil getting pumped by Germany 7-1 in that [2014 World Cup] semi-final.
“There’s emotional and psychological scars. It’s up to Real Madrid to create the conditions where those cracks can be exploited.”