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

Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona meet in the Champions League quarter-finals tonight, a clash between two teams who have shared a selection of superstars in the modern era.

Some of the game’s greatest have adorned the colours of both clubs and we’ve decided to celebrate the very best names to have represented the French and Spanish giants.

Ahead of their Champions League clash at the Parc des Princes, here are five of the best players to play for Barcelona and PSG.

The best players to play for both Barcelona and PSG:

Neymar Jr

Neymar emerged as one of the most exciting young talents in world football at Santos before signing for Barcelona, where he formed part of arguably the most formidable forward line of all time.

Combining to devastating effect with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, the South American superstars fired the Catalans to a historic treble-winning season in 2014/15. Neymar scored 39 goals in all competitions during that treble success, part of 105 goals he scored across four years in Spain.

 

The Brazil international left Barcelona in a record-breaking move, as PSG obliterated the world transfer record to sign Neymar in a stunning £198m deal.

The move 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 largely prevented him from hitting the heights expected.

He won five league titles and scored 118 goals in just 173 appearances for PSG, though departed for Al-Hilal in 2023 with a sense of unfulfilled potential in Paris.

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, where the brilliant Brazilian starred during two years with the Parisians and formed 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 the race, beating off competition from Manchester United to secure a transfer that helped to 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, Ronaldinho was unquestionably the world’s finest footballer and won the Ballon d’Or in 2005 and two FIFA World Player of the Year awards. He played his football in a joyous and expressive style, that has ensured he will live long in the memory of fans who witnessed his greatness in its brief but brilliant peak.

Iconic Performances: The night Ronaldinho received a standing ovation at the Bernabeu

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 sides such as Ajax, Juventus, and 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 title success before a move to PSG.

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 won four consecutive league titles and scoring 156 goals, then a club record, in just 180 appearances.

Noughties Nines: The incomparable Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Thiago Motta

Somewhat of an unsung hero throughout much of a career that included spells at 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. He signed for Inter Milan next, and played selfless role in the club’s 2009/10 treble-winning side under Jose Mourinho.

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

Benito Carbone: A frustrating import frozen in time

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi’s move to Paris Saint-Germain was a transfer that stunned football, as Barcelona’s financial issues saw the departure of the club’s – and perhaps football’s – greatest-ever talent.

Messi had spent his entire career with Barcelona up until that point, producing a level of performance not before seen. The Argentine genius became Barcelona’s record goalscorer (672) and set new records for the most goals (474), hat-tricks (36), and assists (192) in La Liga history.

He has won 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies among his collection of honours, alongside a record-breaking eight Ballon d’Or wins. Messi moved to PSG in 2021 and spent two seasons with the Parisian side, where he won back-to-back Ligue 1 crowns and scored 32 goals in 75 appearances.

The inspiration behind Argentina’s World Cup win in 2022, Messi has won it all in a career that will be talked about for generations to come.

Read – Iconic Performances: Neymar inspires ‘La Remontada’

Read Also – Iconic: Lionel Messi’s five greatest Barcelona goals

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