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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

Lucas Vazquez talks following MVP performance vs Barcelona – ‘Speaks about our work’

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Photo via Getty Images

Of all players people would have expected to turn up for El Clasico today from Real Madrid, it was the backup right-back Lucaz Vazquez who delivered an absolute masterclass of a performance in their 3-2 win.

The Spaniard played Barcelona out of the park starting as the right-back, and ran circles around Joao Cancelo.

He won the penalty for the first goal, scored the equaliser in the 73rd minute, and then assisted Jude Bellingham’s winner in the 91st minute.

“Great night, like many others at the Santiago Bernabeu. We are very grateful to the fans, they created a spectacular atmosphere. We are where want to be, six points away from winning the league,” Vazquez said, as quoted by MARCA.

Coming off an exhausting 120 minutes vs Manchester City in the Champions League, not many would have expected the shift Madrid put in tonight, especially after trailing on two occasions.

“The team, despite the great effort in Manchester, showed their face again. We once again played a great game, and we did everything in our power to achieve this win that gives us the advantage in the league,” Vazquez commented on it.

Now 11 points clear off Barcelona, Madrid can almost sniff La Liga out, and according to Vazquez, it reflects their work well.

“I think this difference speaks well about our work. We had a very good season in La Liga, and we are on the right track.”

As for his own performance, the Spaniard was modest, and said, “I am very happy to be able to help the team. A lot of things went well today, and that is important for everyone”

He was asked two very important things, as well, including his possible inclusion in the 2024 European Championship, to which he replied, “I would love for Luis de la Fuente to call me up for the Euros.”

And more importantly, he also spoke about the controversial penalty incident, but claimed that it was 100% a penalty. “I cut back and his leg caught me. It was a penalty.”

Real Madrid have five days off now before they travel to the Basque county to take on Real Sociedad in the league before travelling to the Allianz Arena to face Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals.

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