UEFA Champions League: Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Real Madrid: Key Talking Points
The 13-times European champions, Real Madrid, started their Champions League campaign with a chastening 3-0 defeat against Ligue 1 leaders, Paris Saint-Germain.
The Los Blancos were overwhelmed, especially in midfield, and failed to muster a single shot on target at the Parc des Princes.
Here is a look at the key talking points from the match.
5. Courtois disappoints yet again
Ever since he departed from Chelsea to join Real Madrid after a hugely impressive World Cup, Belgian Number 1 Thibaut Courtois was the talk of the town.
However, his reputation has taken a massive hit since arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu, as a number of substandard performances and errors have seen his abilities questioned.
Three goals were conceded against PSG, bringing the total he has shipped in this season to nine from just five matches.
The Belgian international, though, was hardly helped by the displays of the defenders in front of him. Even if he was not at his best, manager Zinedine Zidane brushed aside any criticism of his keeper.
“It’s everybody’s fault. We win together, lose together,” he said. For now, Courtois has Zidane's unabashed support. His performances will have to dramatically rise in quality if the status quo were to remain.
4. Midfield masterclass from Tuchel's team
The pivotal point of difference in the match was the gulf in the intensity between the PSG and Real midfields. With Luka Modric missing in action, the impetus was on Toni Kroos to be the carrier of the ball, something clearly was not his forte.
On the other hand, it was obvious that the French side's manager Thomas Tuchel implored his team to take up the empty spaces and Real's Brazilian midfielder Casemiro bore the brunt of PSG's tactics.
The Ligue 1 team's midfield trio of Marco Verratti, Marquinhos and Idrissa Gueye kept on stepping up the intensity and frequently fed their attack.
Real were clearly not prepared for the sort of intensity and pressure they had to encounter, and it showed in the disparity in the midfield stats.
3. Bale, the lone warrior for Zidane!
Gareth Bale was Real’s stand-out player, with the Welshman providing inspiration and intent that was sorely lacking among his team-mates.
He went close with a free-kick before scoring a wonderful lob that was subsequently ruled out for handball in the build up.
Bale then went on to immediately fire another effort just over and fizzed another strike just past the post as he single-handedly tried to drag his side into the match.
Weirdly enough, the Welsh star was the sole hope for Zidane who wanted him out of the club not so long back.
2. Real defence blown apart without Ramos
Madrid’s defensive lines were at sixes and sevens trying to determine whether to press or not, and that meant runs were being made without any tracking what so-ever.
Quite often, one could see Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal going to close the ball without the slightest clue of their previous mark.
There was no accountability, no structure, and no spatial awareness in any part of Real Madrid’s defensive display, and their captain Sergio Ramos' absence could not have been felt more.
Courtois was hardly helped by the displays of the defenders in front of him, as Eder Militao, in particular, struggled to keep up pace with the hosts' attack, and was caught out of position on a number of occasions.
1. Di Maria haunts his old employers with a gala display
With Neymar suspended and Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani sidelined by injury, Angel Di Maria stepped up in their absence by grabbing two first-half goals in a 3-0 triumph at the Parc des Princes.
It took just 14 minutes for the Argentine international to open the scoring, and he made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute finishing a pass from Idrissa Gueye past a hapless Courtois.
The effervescent Di Maria scored the first two goals in brilliantly different fashion, but could have had even more, had it been for slightly better finishing on a few occasions.
The 31-year-old downed his former club to show that there is life at PSG beyond the terrific trio.