• PSG defeated Real Madrid in UCL in Paris on Tuesday
  • Kylian Mbappe scored an injury-time winner 
  • Their return leg will take place on March 9 in Madrid

Neymar heaped praises on his Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) teammate Marco Verratti, comparing him to FC Barcelona icons Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta.

Verratti was commended after his exceptional performance in PSG’s 1-0 win over Real Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16 fixture on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old midfielder featured in the starting XI of PSG and played all 90 minutes at Parc des Princes in the last-16’s first leg. Meanwhile, Neymar, who was returning from an injury, came off the bench in the 73rd minute. The Brazilian star recently missed 13 competitive matches for PSG due to an ankle issue.

"I knew Verratti was an excellent player, but I didn't realize he was so spectacular. He's a genius. He's one of the best midfielders I've played with, along with Xavi Hernandez and Iniesta," Neymar said after the match in Paris, according to Goal.

After Lionel Messi missed a penalty in the 62nd minute, Kylian Mbappe netted an injury-time winner to hand PSG a thrilling victory against 13-time champions Real Madrid.

Messi and Neymar had struck a great partnership with Iniesta and Xavi at Barcelona. Xavi, in fact, is the current head coach of the Catalan club.

Verratti’s performance against Real Madrid

On Tuesday, Verratti completed as many as 92% of his passes, he controlled 8% of the possession out of the entire game and made three successful tackles.

The Italian midfielder is into his 10th season at PSG. There have never been doubts regarding his talents but his recent performances at the Euros 2020 and Champions League have only strengthened his presence in European soccer.

Marco Verratti
Verratti has ruled out a move to Barcelona in the summer. In this picture, Paris Saint-Germain's Italian midfielder Marco Verratti looks on during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Rennes (SR) at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on January 30, 2015. FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Verratti played a key role in Italy winning the European Championship last year. He has been a vital cog of the PSG side that qualified for the Champions League final in the 2019-20 season. However, the French club ended up losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich.

The Italian midfielder is known to not only link play together but also defend counterattacks from opponents. Injuries have been a hurdle in Verratti’s career, but when he is fully fit, he can certainly be one of the best central midfielders in the world.

Meanwhile, PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma hailed Mbappe after the Frenchman scored the winner on Tuesday. "Kylian Mbappe… mamma mia! He’s an alien! He’s incredible. It’s a show with Kylian, on and off the pitch," Donnarumma was quoted by Eurosport, as saying in a post-match interview with Sky Italia.

The return leg of the Round of 16 clash between Real Madrid and PSG is scheduled to take place on March 9 at Santiago Bernabeu.