Pitchside Europe

European Match of the Weekend: Monaco v PSG

Paris St Germain striker Edinson Cavani has been ruled out for three weeks because of a thigh injury and is set to miss the battle of the megabucks in France against Monaco, a spokesman for the French club said on Sunday.

Cavani had to be replaced in the 75th minute of PSG's 2-0 home victory over Girondins Bordeaux in Ligue 1 on Friday and underwent further examination the following day.

A club spokesman told Reuters that the Uruguay striker would be out of action for at least three weeks.

The 26-year-old Cavani has scored 20 goals in 30 matches in all competitions since joining the Ligue 1 leaders from Napoli for a French record fee of 64 million euros (£52 million) this season.

He will miss PSG's League Cup semi-final tie at Nantes on Tuesday and  this month's Champions League tie at Bayer Leverkusen as well as the Ligue 1 clash at second-placed Monaco, who are five points behind after 23 games.

Dimitar Berbatov, on the other hand, is relishing the prospect of making his Monaco debut against PSG.

The Bulgarian striker joined second-placed Monaco on loan from Premier League side Fulham last week as cover for Colombian Radamel Falcao who is likely to be out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.

Berbatov, 33, is expected to play his first game against fellow big spenders PSG and their talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"It's the best way possible (to start)," Berbatov told a news conference on Tuesday.

"You play against one of the biggest clubs in football, one of the best players in football, so what else can a player want?

"It's going to be a fantastic opportunity for me. It's perfect."

Berbatov has had a disappointing season at struggling Fulham, scoring four goals in 18 appearances.

"I was looking for something new and when Monaco called it was a great option for me," he said. "I spoke to my good friend (Manchester United defender) Patrice Evra who said only good things about the club.

"My hair is not the same," the balding Berbatov smiled when asked if he was still as good as he was at United where he netted 48 league goals in 108 matches. "But I will try to show my best.

"I'm a bit older now but football is for intelligent people. We'll see in the coming months if I'm the same or not but I feel pretty good.

"I'm not here to take someone's place. I'm here to help the team as much as I can with my goals and my assists," added Berbatov.

"Today I had the chance to train and I saw very, very nice things from my team mates. I think my style of play will be good for the team and the French league as well."

Reuters

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OPTA HEAD-TO-HEAD STATS

OPTA MATCH FACTS

- Monaco are unbeaten in their last eight encounters with PSG in Ligue 1 (W3 D5).

- PSG have only won three of their 37 trips to Monaco in Ligue 1 (D11 L23).

- PSG have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 27 top-flight trips to Monaco, their last one dating back to February 1984.

- Monaco have won none of their last nine league matches against the Ligue 1 title-holder (D5 L4).

- Monaco have scored in each of their last 11 league games, the best current streak.

- Monaco are the only team not to have conceded a goal in the last 15 minutes of play in Ligue 1 this season.

- Paris SG have only lost one of their last 34 league games (W25, D8).

- None of PSG’s last 41 games in Ligue 1 has ended in a 0-0 draw, the longest current run.

- Monaco are unbeaten when Valere Germain has played in Ligue 1 this season (W7 D2). They’re also unbeaten when Falcao hasn’t been on the pitch (W5, D1).

- Thiago Motta & Joao Moutinho have completed the most passes in the opposition half in Ligue 1 this season (757 & 735 respectively).

- Laurent Blanc is unbeaten against Monaco as a manager in Ligue 1 (W5 D2).

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EUROPEAN GAMES COVERED LIVE ON SITE THIS WEEKEND

Saturday

Nurnberg v Bayern Munich - 14:30

Real Madrid v Villarreal - 19:00

Napoli v AC Milan - 19:45

Sunday

Lazio v Roma - 14:00

Sevilla v Barcelona - 20:00

Monaco v Paris Saint-Germain - 20:00