MADRID: With Cristiano Ronaldo on one side and Neymar on the other, Wednesday’s (Thursday in Manila) heavyweight Champions League showdown between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain sees two of the game’s biggest global superstars collide.
Ronaldo, the current world player of the year, has rediscovered something like his best form just at the right time for Real.
PSG, meanwhile, are placing their hopes in Neymar, the world’s most expensive player and a Ballon d’Or winner of the future, as they chase the European glory that has thus far eluded them.
The Brazilian left Barcelona for Paris to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow. But, exactly seven years Ronaldo’s junior, he is already being talked about in the Spanish capital as a possible successor to the Portuguese.
Ronaldo back to his best?
So far Neymar’s route to the Ballon d’Or has been blocked by the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly – they have won the prize five times each in the last 10 years.
If Neymar inspires PSG to victory in this tie, and then on to glory in the final in May, he will stand a good chance of ending their domination.
But while Ronaldo turned 33 last Monday, he is far from finished.
He scored just four times in Real’s first 18 La Liga games, his slow start to the season following a summer overshadowed by accusations of tax evasion.
But a weekend hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Real Sociedad took him to seven goals in his last four league outings.
Suddenly, ‘CR7’ now has 23 goals in…