Paris Saint-Germain made a telling statement of intent in the form of their 4-0 win over Barcelona at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday evening.
The Ligue 1 powerhouses were close to unstoppable in the Champions League round of 16 tie, giving their opponents all but no hope of completing a miraculous comeback in the return leg.
Not one PSG player had an off night agains the Spanish giants and while Angel Di Maria was the star of the show with two goals in each half, plenty of his colleagues deserve equal praise.
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Adrien Rabiot played a key role in winning the midfield battle against his Barcelona counterparts, subsequently stifling their usually telling influence from the centre of the pitch.
The 21-year-old – who completed more dribbles than any player on either team – was the standout performer in an impressive trio alongside Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti.
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However, according to the English edition of Sport, Rabiot might have lined up for the away side at the Parc des Princes but for a minor change in circumstances a few years ago.
The report claims Barcelona were gearing up to sign the Frenchman from PSG in 2014 due to his inability to establish himself in Laurent Blanc’s line-up.
His mother and agent Valerie Rabiot is believed to have spoken with the La Liga club during the summer of that season, shortly before Luis Enrique arrived at the Nou Camp.
The new manager sought to bring in Ivan Rakitic, which poured cold water over the prospect of Rabbit joining Barcelona as a regular first-team player.
He was then offered to join the B team instead, though a hefty price tag and Rabiot’s reluctance to play for a reserve side quashed any chance of him moving to the Catalan club.
THE REST IS HISTORY
The France international has since exploded onto the world stage and consistently produced the kind of excellent performances that could see Barcelona rekindle their interest in his services.
Despite his young age, he has already taken giant strides towards fulfilling his enormous potential to become a leading midfielder in world football.
If his masterful display against Barcelona is anything to go by, one might argue there is no reason why Rabiot should not yet be hailed among the best in the business.
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