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World will watch PSG-Real games in Champions League - Unai Emery

PARIS -- Unai Emery has said Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League round-of-16 tie against holders Real Madrid "a great opportunity" for him and his players.

PSG coach Emery told BeIN Sports his side would need to show character and talent to progress and said: "It is a beautiful knockout round match.

"I think that we are at the right level to play against Real, so this eliminatory game is welcome.

"We will need to prove our character, to organise ourselves well tactically and, of course, to show our talent.

"Real versus PSG and then PSG versus Real will be the centre of attention for world football.

"There will be top players on the pitch, which is nice for the supporters and everybody else who will be tuning in. I am certain that the team is ready to play this knockout clash.

"We can write a beautiful new chapter in PSG history against Real -- this is a great opportunity."

Emery said that he and the squad would "work on things so that everything will be perfect by the time the games roll around."

After Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueno said both teams are "challengers for the trophy," Emery agreed at his news conference ahead of the midweek Coupe de la Ligue tie at Strasbourg.

"All football fans will want to watch this one," he added. "This is the level that we want -- Real have won the past two editions and they have an illustrious history.

"The team is ready. We will show that we are at the same level as the teams that win the title. If it is Real, then so be it."

Unai Emery
Unai Emery believes PSG are ready to beat Real Madrid.

Emery praised Madrid counterpart Zinedine Zidane but added that he believed PSG "can overpower Real."

PSG are currently without Neymar, who has returned to his native Brazil because of a family issue.

Emery emphasised that he has the Ligue 1 leaders' permission and said: "He called me on Saturday morning to tell me that something had happened involving his family, and he asked me if the club and I were in agreement that he could return to Brazil.

"It was important to him. We spoke with [sporting director] Antero [Henrique], and he authorised it.

"The human side of things is important -- sometimes work must come second. It is important that he is fine. I think that he will be absent for three or four days, but I do not know exactly when he will return."

Emery did not rule out the possibility that Neymar could play against Strasbourg or, failing that, against Rennes on Saturday.

He added: "Either way, if he is not playing it is because he needs to be there with his family. The most important thing is that the issue is taken care of."

Meanwhile, Adrien Rabiot will miss the rest of the month after suffering a hamstring injury in the win over Lille last Saturday, but Thiago Motta is back in full team training.

"Adrien will miss the three matches [Strasbourg, Rennes and Caen] between now and the holidays," Emery said. "Thiago has returned to squad training. We will see how he feels, but it is good news."

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.

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