It’s been a terrible week for both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.
Madrid were dumped out of the Champions League after suffering an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at home to Ajax - a result that almost certainly means the Spanish giants will have a new manager in place of Santiago Solari at the Bernabeu next season.
PSG, meanwhile, were also knocked out of Europe’s premier club cup competition after losing 3-1 to a depleted Manchester United side at the Parc des Princes.
Like Real Madrid, who defeated Ajax 2-1 in Amsterdam, PSG were expected to comfortably secure their place in the Champions League quarter-finals after beating United 2-0 in the first leg at Old Trafford.
But a brace from Romelu Lukaku, and a controversial late penalty from Marcus Rashford, sent the Red Devils through to the next round at PSG’s expense.
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The face of Neymar, who could only watch on from the sidelines due to injury, said it all. This was a shock to the system for everybody associated with the Parisian outfit, who are desperate to become European champions for the first time in their history.
PSG’s early exit may convince Neymar that he should be plying his trade for another of Europe’s top clubs - and Real Madrid, who are expected to spend big this summer in order to transform their squad, are acutely aware this might be the case.
This is why the 13-time European champions are now prepared to smash the world transfer record to bring the Brazilian to the Bernabeu.
It’s a potential transfer that has long been mooted because Madrid president Florentino Perez is such a big admirer of the former Barcelona forward.
And Catalan newspaper Sport dropped the bombshell on Friday afternoon that Perez has identified Neymar as the player Madrid will be going all out to sign this summer.
The report claims Madrid are prepared to pay an eye-watering €350 million (around £300 million) to bring Neymar to the Spanish capital. They’ve already made their intentions clear to Neymar himself.
It’s also claimed Madrid are prepared to pay Neymar €45 million a season on a five-year contract - even more than the €36 million a season he currently earns with PSG.
This would make him the highest paid player in world football, ahead of his former Barça teammate Lionel Messi.
Madrid are aware that PSG are not a ‘selling club’ but believe a €350 million offer may prove too big to turn down, particularly with UEFA closely monitoring the French champions’ finances amid a financial fair play investigation.
Sport also claim that Perez is going after Neymar, rather than Kylian Mbappe, because the former is a more realistic signing at this moment in time.
Mbappe does not want to leave France and, besides, lacks the same global appeal as his South American teammate.
Perez’s dream of seeing Neymar in the white kit of Real Madrid suddenly feels like a genuine possibility.