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Despite the importance of the clash, though, GOAL can reveal that the PSG star will receive a relatively warm welcome, unlike former Barca idol Lionel Messi and the rest of the visiting team.
Several Madrid fan groups are planning to unveil small gestures of affection for the forward when he enters the pitch, while being careful not to go overboard in their tributes due to the context of his visit.
The key factor, according to supporter representatives, is to avoid either openly cheering for an opposing player or doing anything which could anger him or his team and jeopardise a potential deal, and on the contrary convince him the Bernabeu is a fitting new home.
Mbappe gave PSG a substantial scare on Monday when he limped out of training after suffering a strong challenge to his left foot.
But the striker avoided damage to the extremity and was able to train normally the following day, and he should be available from kick-off to coach Mauricio Pochettino as the Argentine looks to defend his side’s fragile lead in the Spanish capital.
has scored just twice in the league this season, and has a total of just seven goals. His struggles were illustrated in the first leg too when he saw his penalty saved by Thibaut Courtois at Parc des Princes.
With Nasri’s squad, which he delivered in an interview with L’Equipe, based mainly on current form and availabilty, it is perhaps not too suprising that the Argentine missed out.
Instead, the former Manchester City and Arsenal star opted a front three that included Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Neymar.
Barca are playing in Europe’s second-tier competition for the first time in 18 years – back then it was still known as the UEFA Cup – because they finished third in Champions League Group E behind Bayern Munich and Benfica.
Xavi’s side are enjoying a spell of good form now though – they are unbeaten in their last eight games, winning six, and have moved up to third place in the Spanish League standings, a position they haven’t occupied since the opening round of the season.
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Galatasaray, in contrast, have had a disappointing domestic season and currently sit in mid-table in the Turkish top flight.
Barca are emerging as the favourites to win the compeition, but Xavi played down the idea.
“I don’t see us as favourites. We don’t know the competition. We’ve never won the title,” he said. “I think the favourites should be the last champions. Sevilla, for instance, are much more favourites than us. Without a doubt. We are candidates to win.”
However, Barcelona will go into Thursday’s game expecting to open up a significant advantage over their Turkish opposition before the second leg takes place in Istanbul in a week’s time.