Paris Saint-Germain will attempt to overturn a 3-1 deficit when they host Real Madrid in their heavyweight Champions League last-16 second leg on Tuesday (1945 GMT), but do so without the injured Neymar.
The world’s most expensive player is recovering from a foot operation in Brazil, yet the French club remain hopeful they can overcome the defending European champions and advance to April’s quarter-finals.
“I speak with him practically every day, so yes we have agreed between us that we would see each other again later on in this competition,” said Paris defender Dani Alves when asked if he had been in touch with his fellow Brazil international.
“For sure, we will feel his absence. But between sitting down and crying and getting up and getting on with it, I always opt for the second option.”
Angel Di Maria, a Champions League winner with Madrid in 2014, is set to replace Neymar in the home line-up before a sell-out crowd of around 47,000 at the Parc des Princes.
“He is a spectacular player, who made history with Real Madrid. He can play in any position across the middle, he moves well, has a good shot, and is quick,” said Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane of Di Maria.
PSG took the lead in the first leg in Spain last month through Adrien Rabiot only for Real to hit back with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice to break through the 100-goal barrier for the club in the Champions League.
Marcelo also scored for Real, who are aiming to become the first club since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win a third consecutive European Cup.
Madrid have not been eliminated from the Champions League this early since Lyon beat them in 2010. However, PSG are relying on their formidable record at home, where they are unbeaten in over 50 games going back two years.
They have also overturned a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Real before, winning 4-1 in their UEFA Cup quarter-final return in 1993.
George Weah scored for PSG that night. Now the president of Liberia, his son Timothy made his professional debut for the Ligue 1 leaders at the weekend.