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Five of the best players to play for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain

Barcelona meet Paris Saint-Germain this evening in a huge Champions League last-16 clash, both sides harbouring ambitions of conquering Europe this season ahead of the first leg of their knockout stage tie.

The fixture will see some of the continent’s finest footballers take club football’s biggest stage, with the likes of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe going head-to-head in what promises to be a fascinating contest.

Throughout the years some stellar names have adorned the red and blue of both clubs, so ahead of tonight’s clash we’ve decided to pick out five of the most famous faces.

The best players to play for both Barcelona and PSG:

Neymar Jr

Neymar’s groin injury sustained earlier this month will see the PSG forward miss both legs of a reunion with former club Barcelona, the forward having left the Spanish side in a £198m world-record deal in 2017.

The top scoring Brazilian in Champions League history, Neymar emerged as one of the most exciting young talents in world football at Santos before signing for Barcelona, where he would form part of arguably the most formidable forward line of the modern era.

Working in brilliant tandem alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, the South American superstars fired the Catalans to a historic treble-winning season in 2014/15, Neymar netting 39 goals in all competitions as part of 105 he would score across a four-year spell in Spain.

 

The Brazil international’s record-breaking move to Paris was designed to take the star out of the shadow of Messi and see him emerge as the world’s best, but despite several moments of magic injuries have prevented him hitting the heights expected.

He has, however, scored 83 goals in just 103 appearances and led PSG to a maiden Champions League final last season, the French champions in contention once more to be crowned as champions of Europe for the first time.

Five of the best Brazilians to play for Barcelona

Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho became a household name after signing for Paris Saint-Germain in the early 2000s, the brilliant Brazilian starring during a two-year spell with the Parisians while forming part of Brazil’s World Cup-winning squad in 2002.

The following summer saw a clamour for his signature and it was Barcelona who won, beating off competition from Manchester United to secure a transfer that would help change the course of the club’s history.

Ronaldinho became the driving force behind the Catalan’s rise back to the summit of the European game, arriving at a Barcelona side without a major trophy in four seasons and inspiring the club to back-to-back league titles and the Champions League.

At his best he was unquestionably the world’s finest footballer and won the Ballon d’Or in 2005, Ronaldinho playing his football in a joyous and expressive style that has ensured he will live long in the memory of fans who witnessed his greatness at its brief but brilliant peak.

Ronaldinho – 10 of the best quotes about the magical Brazilian

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The career pathway of Zlatan Ibrahimovic reads like a who’s who of Europe’s biggest clubs. The Swedish superstar has enjoyed successful stints at clubs such as Ajax, Juventus, Manchester United and played on both sides of the Milan divide.

Ibrahimovic also enjoyed spells at both Barcelona and PSG, the former a rare disappointment on a glittering career and the latter a history-making period as the spearhead of an emerging Parisian outfit.

Ibrahimovic signed for Barcelona in a mega-money move in 2009 after scoring 57 goals in 88 league appearances for Inter Milan, though the forward’s extroverted personality and individualism saw him clash with Pep Guardiola at the Camp Nou.

Despite scoring 22 goals in all competitions and winning the league title he returned to Italy after just one season, signing for AC Milan and inspiring the Rossoneri to Serie A success before moving to PSG.

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PSG were emerging as a force following a billionaire takeover and the signing of Ibrahimovic helped spark an era of domestic dominance, the marquee arrival winning four consecutive league titles and scoring 156 goals in just 180 appearances.

He departed for Manchester United in 2016 as the greatest goalscorer in PSG’s history.

Rating Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s impact at each of his nine clubs

Thiago Motta

Somewhat of an unsung hero throughout much of a career that included spells at both Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, Motta was a midfield anchorman who enjoyed a trophy-laden career at the very highest level.

Motta won two league titles and the Champions League during his time with the Spanish side but watched on from the substitutes’ bench as they were crowned European champions in 2006, never truly establishing himself as a fixture in the club’s midfield amid a succession of injuries.

He moved on to Atletico Madrid where a serious knee injury threatened his career, only to enjoy a renaissance at Genoa before playing a selfless role in Inter Milan’s 2009/10 treble-winning side as the club’s midfield metronome.

Motta finished his career with a seven-year spell at PSG and won five league titles during that time, offering a calming presence at the base of the midfield that was most often felt whenever he was absent from the side.

Benito Carbone: A frustrating import frozen in time

Dani Alves

Dani Alves stands as the most decorated player in football history. He is a footballer who – alongside many of his compatriots before him – helped revolutionise the role of a full-back in an unforgettable career of success.

Alves starred at Sevilla before being signed by divisional rivals Barcelona and forming part of the greatest sides in the club’s history, winning a wealth of major silverware during an eight-year spell at the Camp Nou including six La Liga titles and three Champions League triumphs.

The Brazilian formed a brilliant partnership with Lionel Messi and proved a hugely influential figure from right-back, bursting forward to become one of Barcelona’s most creative attacking options.

Alves made 391 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona and scored 21 goals, moving on to Juventus and later PSG – winning two league titles amongst six honours collected during a two season spell in the French capital.

Read: How an Italian cult hero became the Premier League’s youngest ever manager

See Also: Five of the best Champions League last 16 ties involving English sides

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