Sergio Ramos could be set to make his long-awaited Paris Saint-Germain debut when the Ligue 1 Uber Eats leaders take on AS Saint-Étienne at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Sunday.
AS Saint-Étienne - Paris Saint-Germain
- Kick-off: 12:00 GMT
Ramos - who joined PSG in the summer alongside Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi and Gini Wijnaldum as part of an incredible influx of talent - has yet to feature for his new employers, the former Real Madrid and Spain captain having struggled with a calf complaint since his arrival.
He was named among the substitutes for Paris's narrow 2-1 loss to Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, though, and could be set to feature this weekend with coach Mauricio Pochettino expected to rotate a few players ahead of facing OGC Nice on Wednesday.
PSG are safely through to the Champions League knock-out stages as Group A runners-up despite their recent loss, and their form remains strong, last Saturday's 3-1 win over FC Nantes leaving them 11 points clear of second-place OGC Nice in the league table.
Messi opened his Ligue 1 Uber Eats account in that game, and the former Barcelona star can't wait to be able to finally call Ramos a teammate having been lined up on opposite sides of La Liga's Clasico divide for so many years.
Watch: Highlights of PSG's 3-1 win over Nantes
"Sergio Ramos as a teammate is spectacular," he told Spanish daily sports newspaper Diario AS." Now it's nothing, but at the start it was weird after so many years of rivalry, being the two captains of Barca and Madrid, after so many Clasicos played, so many fights that we had on the pitch.
"But all that stays inside now, and we've always had a lot of respect for them being such big rivals in these Clasicos. To have him as a teammate today is spectacular."
Whether Messi and Ramos start remains to be seen, but Pochettino will definitely be without injured trio Presnel Kimpembe, Julian Draxler and Rafinha, while Keylor Navas's place in goal in assured with Donnarumma still recovering from a recent bout of illness. Marco Verratti is a booking away from a suspension, and another candidate to be rested.
Saint-Étienne begin the day in 19th, 18 places and 25 points worse off than their visitors, whom they haven't beaten since November 2012, when a Mamadou Sakho own goal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang strike gave them a 2-1 win at the Parc des Princes.
There have been shoots of promise with les Verts recently, though. Their 1-0 win over ESTAC Troyes last Sunday was their second victory on the bounce, and they have now gone four games without defeat in the French top flight.
Watch: Highlights of Saint-Étienne's 1-0 win at Troyes
"It wasn't even our best game of the season," said Sainté coach Claude Puel. "There have been some good ones, and some very good ones that weren't rewarded. We still have to bear in mind that we had seven injured, sick, or suspended players.
"The players are all in tune, and don't let go. It'll be with this state of mind that we'll climb up the rankings."
Romain Hamouma recently joined that long injury list after pulling his hamstring in training. His place in attack is likely to go to Ivorian striker Jean-Philippe Krasso.
Harold Moukoudi (groin), Yvan Neyou (ankle) and Saidou Sow (thigh) are perhaps the absences that hurt ASSE most. Ryad Boudebouz could once again be deployed deeper in midfield without Neyou available.
Saint-Étienne: Green; Maçon, Nadé, Kolodziejczak, Trauco; Camara, Moueffek ; Bouanga, Boudebouz, Aouchiche ; Khazri
PSG: Donnarumma ; Kehrer, Marquinhos, Diallo, Bernat ; Di Maria, Danilo, Paredes ; Messi, Mbappé, Neymar