PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain's failure to score in two matches against Real Madrid in the Champions League highlighted the ambitious club's need to find a new attacking star.
While Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to score freely in the French league, his impact on the European stage is diminishing, and striker Edinson Cavani looks out of sorts playing in a wide role not suited to his strengths.
With Ibrahimovic out of contract at the end of the season, Cavani could get a long-awaited chance to play in his favored center forward's role next season. However, there is increasing media speculation that PSG will push hard to sign Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo did little to lessen the growing hype after Tuesday night's 0-0 draw, hugging PSG coach Laurent Blanc and whispering in his ear after the final whistle. Then, he sent the Spanish sports press into overdrive as he took the time to stop and shake hands with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi as he walked through the area where post-match interviews are conducted.
With Ibrahimovic's aura fading on the big stage, Ronaldo would be the ideal player to take PSG into a new dimension in European football.
Blanc has not revealed what Ronaldo said to him, except that it was flattering.
But before dreaming of signing Ronaldo, PSG must return to more humdrum domestic duties and Saturday's home match against Toulouse.
Chasing a fourth straight league title, PSG leads the league by 10 points after 12 rounds. Here are some things to know about this weekend's games.
MIND THE TRAPP
Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Kevin Trapp is fast earning a reputation for making blunders.
In Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League, Trapp was at fault for Madrid's goal, rushing inexplicably off his line to collect a bouncing ball near the byline and failing to spot Madrid player Nacho Fernandez, who slotted in from a tight angle.
Trapp accepted responsibility, but also added that he simply could not see Fernandez — even though he was just meters away and rushing toward him at speed.
In the 2-2 home draw against Bordeaux in September, Trapp made big errors on both of Bordeaux's goals, getting tackled as he clumsily tried to pass the ball out from the penalty area and fumbling the ball on a corner.
Coach Laurent Blanc's decision to replace Italy goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu with Trapp remains highly questionable, seeing as Trapp joined with no Champions League experience and has never played for Germany.
Blanc's argument is that Trapp's passing from the back better suits PSG's attacking style of play, but while Trapp continues to make calamitous errors that remains a superfluous theory.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti faces a spell on the sidelines after spraining his left ankle playing against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
The club confirmed that he has a tibial-fibular, ruling him out of Saturday's home match against Toulouse, and that he will have further tests to determine the length of his absence.
Verratii's injury is a blow to coach Laurent Blanc.
The 23-year-old Italian has been in fine form since the start of the season, dictating play from central midfield with both his short and long passing, and has earned a starting spot with his national team.
LACAZETTE HITS BACK
Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette has cleared the air with coach Hubert Fournier.
Lacazette was the French league's top scorer with 27 goals last season but Fournier was critical of him following a slow start to the season.
Fournier said he expected far more from Lacazette and from other key players who all earned significant pay rises after Lyon finished second last season to qualify automatically for the Champions League.
"Yes, it did hurt me. From his point of view it was more a way to sting my pride so that I came back stronger," the 24-year-old Lacazette said in an interview with Canal Plus television. "But it worked the opposite way and disappointed me more than anything. It was his way of seeing things; we've spoken about it and moved on."
Lacazette has scored only twice in 10 league games heading into Sunday's home clash with bitter local rival Saint-Etienne.
GOURCUFF'S LATEST RETURN
Six years ago, Yoann Gourcuff was playing so well for Bordeaux he was touted as the successor to famed midfielder Zinedine Zidane.
These days, the 29-year-old Frenchman is struggling to even play for mid-table Rennes.
Gourcuff joined Rennes in the offseason, bringing to an end an unhappy spell with Lyon, where the fragile playmaker started only 66 games in five seasons blighted by injuries.
Gourcuff started his career at Rennes 12 years ago. But Rennes offered him a one-year contract this time, and Gourcuff only just started training this week.