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Why Cristiano Ronaldo was desperate to leave Real Madrid for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012

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The draw for the last sixteen of this season's Champions League offered up one of the most interesting and exciting games in years: Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain.

On one side you've got the biggest and most successful club in the history of European football; while on the other there's the extravagantly rich pretenders, desperate to finally make their mark on Europe's top competition.

Real became the first side to retain the Champions League with their emphatic 4-1 win over Juventus last May - something that immediately had them down as favourites for this year's edition.

PSG, however, went a different route. Last season was an undoubted failure for the side as they failed to make up for the loss of then-record goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and watched AS Monaco lift the Ligue 1 title.

They've found their replacement now, of course, by doubling the transfer record to sign Barcelona's Brazilian superstar Neymar - and if that wasn't enough then Kylian Mbappe, the most sought-after player in the world, joined from rivals Monaco.

The two deals immediately made PSG one of the biggest threats to Real's throne - but that certainly isn't all that this game represents.

Neymar's move was a shock when it happened, not because Neymar had never been rumoured to leave, but because no one actually thought it was possible to force Barca into doing it.

While becoming the best at Barcelona is virtually impossible (if not actually impossible) due to Lionel Messi being there, Neymar believed PSG would be able to make him the best player around.

That was his motivation to force the move - they'd build around him, support him, and do what they could to ensure their star is the star of world football.

And that is something he shares in common with the player he hopes to usurp as the Ballon d'Or holder - Cristiano Ronaldo.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-TOULOUSE-PSG

According to a report by France Football, Ronaldo had sent several messages to a friend about wanting to push forward a move to Paris.

The Portuguese legend was struggling to overcome Messi as the best in the world and felt that his club simply wasn't doing enough to help him out - but believed PSG would.

"I want to go to Paris," he allegedly said. "They really want me there. The French will be happy for me to play in their championship and the media will campaign in my favour for the Ballon d'Or."

Whether this was genuine or not from Ronaldo is unclear as the player has built up a reputation for crying wolf when he wants something, typically a new contract.

It's probably worth noting that he's since won the Ballon d'Or in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 as Real definitely did make more of an effort to support him over it.

Whether it was close to happening or not, it's something that adds yet another level to the most intriguing match in years.

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Topics:
Paris Saint-Germain
Neymar
Cristiano Ronaldo
Paris Saint-Germain
Ballon d'Or
Barcelona
Lionel Messi
Football

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