Football

Thiago Maia.

Brazil Olympics star names club he wants to join over Real Madrid or Barcelona

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When it comes to playing for the biggest clubs in the world, there aren't many bigger than Real Madrid and Barcelona. 

Already with illustrious histories, the La Liga giants have split the past three Champions League between them and still play host to the two best players of the current generations; Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, one potential star of the new generation has admitted this week that he would happily spurn the interest of either Spanish powerhouse to join a club a Champions League rival he says he "identifies" with.

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Speaking in an interview with ESPN Brasil, via Goal.com, Santos midfielder and member of Brazil's gold medal-winning Olympic heroes, Thiago Maia, revealed that it is French club Paris Saint-Germain who he finds more appealing.

"I identify with PSG. Many players say they want to play for Real or Barcelona, but I identify with PSG," the 19-year-old defensive midfielder said.

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However, before PSG fans get excited about bringing in a highly rated youngster to their expensively assembled squad, Maia made it clear that no move to the Ligue 1 side is in the pipeline right now.

"That does not mean I'll go there," he continued.

"Not yet [I have not had contact the club], but I hope it comes one day. As I said, I identify a lot, I have friends there."

Brazil v South Africa: Men's Football - Olympics: Day -1

The idea of choosing PSG - a club who dominate their domestic competition but have struggled to translate that success across to the Champions League - over the likes of Real and Barca may surprise a lot of people.

Indeed, speaking yesterday as he agreed a new contract extension at Madrid, Gareth Bale essentially questioned why he would want to play anywhere else.

However, for Maia, it appears that he has been swayed in part by fellow countrymen already plying their trade at the Parc des Princes.

"Marquinhos told me about the structure of the club," explained the youngster who has, in the past, been linked to Chelsea.

"You can see it in his smile that he's happy. If I go to PSG I will be very happy."

As well as Maquinhos, PSG also boast Brazilian internationals Lucas Moura, Maxwell and club captain Thiago Silva on their books.  

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For a teenager who only has two years of professional football under his belt (all in Brazil with Santos) the idea of linking up with a host of fellow Brazilians would certainly be appealing. 

Whether that happens anytime soon, or whether he really would turn down both Spanish clubs if they came calling, only time will tell. 

With Marcelo at Real and the likes of Neymar and Rafinha in Barca's squad, it's not like he'd be the only Brazilian in town at either club after all.

FBL-WC-2018-BRA-TRAINING

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Topics:
Paris Saint-Germain
La Liga
Real Madrid
Football
Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi
Barcelona
Brazil Football
Neymar
Paris Saint-Germain

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