Paris Saint-Germain’s upcoming visit to Newcastle’s St James’ Park has ignited a whirlwind of emotions on Tyneside. The first Champions League match at the iconic stadium in two decades promises an extreme test for Newcastle, with Kylian Mbappé and PSG in town. Eddie Howe, Newcastle’s manager, is uncertain how his team will fare against the French giants, but PSG’s Luis Enrique is wary of Newcastle’s ferocious pressing game.
Enrique himself has fond memories of St James’ Park, having played for Barcelona against Newcastle in 1997, a game they lost to Faustino Asprilla’s hat-trick. Enrique acknowledges the hostile atmosphere and Newcastle’s aggressive playing style, which his team must counter.
Eddie Howe’s challenge is to press PSG into submission, and he’s not rolling out the welcome mat. The atmosphere at the stadium is expected to be electric, reminiscent of past Champions League nights.
The mention of Sir Bobby Robson brings nostalgia for many fans, as he presided over Newcastle’s last home Champions League game in 2003. Patrick Kluivert, who shone for Barcelona that night, later became a Newcastle player, but history is unlikely to repeat itself with Mbappé.
Enrique’s visit to Newcastle brought back fond memories of playing under Sir Bobby Robson at Barcelona and he paid his respects at the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation’s statue. Enrique holds great admiration for their charity as they helped save his daughter who passed away four years ago due to cancer.
PSG manager Luis Enrique took charge during a transitional phase but has successfully maintained their status. Although Newcastle faces a difficult Champions League group, PSG should excel.
Despite injuries to key players like Sven Botman, Harvey Barnes, and Joe Willock, this match represents a significant milestone in Newcastle’s progress since the Saudi Arabia-backed takeover two years ago.
As St James’ Park prepares for this glamorous night, Enrique hopes for a great game and admits his envy for his players. The clash between Newcastle and PSG is not just a football match; it’s a meeting of past and present, with the spirit of Sir Bobby Robson casting a shadow over the proceedings.