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



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 defender on the radars of Juventus, could leave for €6-8 million



Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Real Madrid are looking towards a heavy splurge in the coming summer transfer window. After all, they do not even have another option given the sheer number of player departures already finalized.

Los Blancos have lost the services of Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Mariano Diaz, and Eden Hazard over the past week. While three of the four players predominantly featured on the bench, their presence in the squad gave Carlo Ancelotti’s side much-needed depth and a cushion of sorts.

The forward unit is, thus, the most prioritized department ahead of the transfer window. However, pieces are beginning to fall apart on other fronts and could potentially put the club in a difficult situation.

According to reports from Gianluca Di Marzio, Juventus are eyeing Lucas Vazquez and hope to sign him in the coming month. Contacts between the two parties have begun and the transfer fee discussed appears to be around the €6 million to €8 million ballpark given that he has just one year left on his contract.

The player, for his part, is willing to sign for the Italian giants given his relative lack of minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu. At 31 years of age, he understandably does not want to play a second-fiddle role.

Vasquez played part in 23 of Real Madrid’s 38 La Liga games last season, starting only on 12 occasions. Even in his few appearances, he averaged a mere 50 minutes per game.

The veteran completed the season with four goals and an assist to his name. Further, he averaged five defensive actions and a key pass in every game and feels hard done by his limited role.

Vazquez’s departure would place the club in a tricky situation as it would leave Real Madrid with only Dani Carvajal as a natural right-back option. Nacho Fernandez could, in theory, serve as the backup but a new signing for the position cannot be ruled out.

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