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Neymar says he “almost played for Real Madrid” in his early days

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Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Football fans are awaiting another blockbuster encounter in the UEFA Champions League this midweek as Paris Saint-Germain take on Real Madrid on Wednesday evening.

The Parisian juggernaut are heading into this game on the back of a slender one-goal advantage from the first leg. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s men haven’t been the most consistent team this season and are sweating on the fitness of Kylian Mbappe.

The Frenchman had picked up an injury during training on Monday and might not be fit for the encounter, even though Real Madrid players reportedly think otherwise.

Should Mbappe miss out against Los Blancos, it will be imperative for PSG’s two ex-Barca superstars in Lionel Messi and Neymar to perform to their full potential.

Upon his return to Spain, Neymar opened up a bit during his time in La Liga during the pre-match press conference. Among other things, the Brazilian provided an interesting insight into his early footballing life, claiming he was close to playing for Real Madrid.

“I almost played for Real Madrid when I was 13 years old. Life took me to Barcelona, which I have a great affection for. I continue to carry the team with my heart,” said the Brazilian (h/t Futbol en Movistar Plus+).

Neymar joined Barcelona in 2013 for a staggering fee of €88 million. During his four-year spell in Catalonia, the forward racked up 105 goals and 76 assists in 186 competitive matches, notably helping Barca win the UEFA Champions League in 2015.

With three goals and six assists in eleven matches, Neymar has a strong record against Real Madrid as well. It will be interesting to see if the 30-year-old can rediscover his mojo alongside Messi and help PSG eliminate Los Blancos from the Champions League tonight.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid forward set for talks with Arsenal this week – report

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

With less than six months left on his contract, Marco Asensio looks to be on his way out of Real Madrid very soon. The Spaniard has not yet started talks to extend his contract with the Spanish giants, which has garnered the eyes from several top clubs across Europe.

One of the clubs interested in his signature happens to be Premier League leaders Arsenal. Mikel Arteta is said to be a fan of the player, and will try to be bring him to North London on a free transfer this summer.

According to Mirror, Asensio’s agents will fly to London this week to get an a better understanding Arsenal’s interest in the player. Talks are scheduled with Arsenal, among possibly other clubs.

Asensio’s priority remains to extend with Arsenal, but not at ‘any cost’. The winger is looking for raise with his new contract to go along with a four-year deal. The report states that he currently earns around €130,000 per week at Madrid.

The 27-year-old has been waiting for an official offer from Los Blancos for a while, but the club will wait for March or April before taking a decision on his extension.

Asensio took a while to grow important for Carlo Ancelotti this season, but has been featuring regularly on the right-wing lately. He even scored in 2-0 win against Valencia in midweek, taking his tally to two for the season, excluding three assists as well.

Arsenal are definitely looking to add more firepower to their squad for next season, having already brought in Leandro Trossard in the winter. Asensio could serve as the perfect backup to Bukayo Saka, who has been in incredible form all season.

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