Depending upon which narrative you chose to embrace, Neymar will either look to start a Paris Saint-Germain dynasty in which he is the jewel when they face Real Madrid in the Champions League or turn in an audition to be the Santiago Bernabeu's latest galactico.
The Brazil forward was apparently motivated in part by his desire to win the Ballon d'Or when he swapped Barcelona for Paris last August and dumping the reigning European champions out at the last-16 stage would certainly do much to further his ambitions.
Madrid's reported courting of Neymar has much to do with Cristiano Ronaldo's perceived decline over recent months but the Portuguese icon appears to be coming good at just the right time.
Quietly – by his standards – Ronaldo has scored seven goals in his past four LaLiga outings and, as the business end of last season's Champions League showed, he is almost without parallel when it comes to the big occasion.
Whether Neymar is Ronaldo's future team-mate, replacement or latest rival is a debate that will run beyond this mouth-watering tie. For now, we can see how the duo's statistics stack up this season with the help of Opta data.
23 - Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals this season in his first 28 competitive appearances (23) than he did in 2016-17 (21), despite playing fewer minutes (2344 v 2493). Decline? pic.twitter.com/glv7vENC2L— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 12, 2018
27 – Neymar is scoring at exactly one goal per game across all competitions. Ronaldo has 23 in 28 matches after his recent spurt, although his average of a goal every 102 minutes is his least efficient return since joining Madrid in 2009.
9 – The Champions League remains Ronaldo's favoured arena. He scored in all six group games, netting nine goals to outstrip Neymar's haul by three.
5 – Both players have boosted their tally by converting five times from the penalty spot, although Ronaldo has not been forced to argue with Edinson Cavani beforehand.
188 – Ronaldo has taken on a huge number of shots on goal and has been outscored by Neymar, despite his rival only attempting 126. They have registered 72 and 58 attempts on target respectively.
14 – Neymar has laid on almost three times as many goals for his PSG team-mates than Ronaldo has managed at Madrid, with five assists. The ex-Barca favourite has created 89 chances to Ronaldo's 35.
318 – The incredible number of dribbles attempted by Neymar at home and abroad this season, with 189 completed. Ronaldo has attempted 59 and completed 35.
30 - Neymar is involved in 30 goals after only 18 Ligue 1 games played - he reached this milestone on his 37th Liga game with Barcelona. Tornado. pic.twitter.com/EEbl121TTr— OptaJean (@OptaJean) February 10, 2018
Despite a diminished return against his own improbable efforts from previous years, Ronaldo remains an expert goal-getter, while Neymar is breaking new ground for himself in that regard.
The statistics concerning each player's wider performances are perhaps more instructive. Ronaldo's days of tearing off on relentless dribbles and runs appear to be fading into the past, while tormenting opponents in this fashion is second nature to Neymar, who is clearly the more adept creator of the two.
Perhaps those seeing Neymar as Ronaldo's potential replacement at Madrid are on to something when it comes to superstar appeal and marketing imperatives but missing the point in terms of matters on the field. While both are supreme forwards, they are different kinds of attackers. Neymar probably has more in common with the 26-year-old Ronaldo than this version.
The narrowing focus of Ronaldo's talents and Karim Benzema's trials as Madrid's number nine means a full-time conversion to playing as a striker makes increasing sense. Neymar remains at his best when operating across the entire canvas. They would be breath-taking in tandem and on Wednesday both men represent contrasting keys to victory.
25. Juni 2018
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|Alonso hopes French GP result was a one-off for McLaren|
|Messi ´not guilty of anything´, insists Maradona|
|Egypt keeper El Hadary to become World Cup´s oldest player|
|Guerrero to give Jedinak ´big hug´ for help battling ban|
|Eurovision and World Cup glory in the sights of eternal optimists Iceland|
|As long as we win, I don´t care who scores - Werner relishing World Cup experience|
|Wigan head coach to switch codes after being handed Scottish Rugby role|
|Switzerland v Costa Rica: Lang shrugs off Shaqiri controversy|
|Runners and Ryders: Watson jumps two places, Casey into automatic spot|
|Fekir offered contract extension, reveals Lyon president|
|Which F1 races has Lewis Hamilton not won?|
|Return to Sevilla would be a dream, says Layun|
|Paine: Don´t write off Australia´s World Cup defence|
|Gareca: My Peru future? I´ll give an answer soon|
|Bayern Munich´s Friedl to see out loan deal at Werder Bremen|
|Hooper out for at least a month, Folau set for hearing|
|Skoko backs former team-mate Dalic to take Croatia ´quite a way´ at World Cup|
|If Iceland go forward, we will go forward - Lada replaces longboat in Norse odyssey|
|Morata ´too expensive´ for Dortmund - Zorc|
|Hearn questions ´deluded´ Wilder´s desire for Joshua fight|
|Belgium game a ´perfect dress rehearsal´ for England, insists Carragher|
|World Cup permutations: How can Argentina qualify for last 16?|
|Bulldogs playmaker Foran out for season|
|RFU chairman offering no guarantees over Jones future|
|Algeria looking for new coach after parting ways with Madjer|
|Cahill still has something to offer Australia - Bosnich|
|Fear has discouraged Danes from travelling to Russia, says Sorensen|
|Reds rally to complete four-game sweep of Cubs|
|Arzani ready for Socceroos start against Peru – Skoko|
|Braves place closer Vizcaino on DL with right shoulder inflammation|
|West Indies hold slight edge against Sri Lanka|
|Don´t touch my Grizou – Pogba defends France team-mate|
|Yankees catcher Sanchez likely heading to DL|
|Messi is frustrated and hungry – Mascherano|
|Nainggolan the ´ninja´ Inter were missing, says Spalletti|
|Anthony fires back at Thunder fans unhappy he´s staying|
|MLS Review: New York City edge Toronto in Torrent´s first game|
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|World Cup 2018: England at home, Brazil´s party and exploding White Nights in St Petersburg|
|Pogba reveals ´issues´ with Mourinho|
24. Juni 2018
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|Morgan hails ´outstanding´ Buttler century|
|Paine to discuss ODI future after England whitewash|
|Cuper unsure of Egypt future as El Hadary nears milestone|
|Koepka ´shutting down´ until Carnoustie|
|Quintero and James plot Colombia´s way through uncharted territory|
|Federer upbeat despite shock Halle defeat|
|Journalists should round on Vettel - Verrstappen|
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|Maria takes maiden title in Mallorca|
|Hierro: I am 100 per cent the coach of Spain|
|Busquets recognises Iniesta´s burning ambition|
|Denmark v France: Tolisso hoping for second chance|
|Eight-try Wakefield hammer sorry Widnes|
|World Cup 2018: A panda, a tapir and a nightmare for Willy in Nizhny|
|Senegal´s Wague makes African history in World Cup|
|Cilic fights back to beat Djokovic in enthralling Queen´s final|
|Neymar and Suarez among players to send Messi birthday wishes|
|Strength of Senegal and Japan´s determination could trouble England and Belgium|
|Hamilton questions Vettel punishment after Bottas´ race ´destroyed´|
|Brilliant Buttler seals whitewash in Old Trafford thriller|
|World Cup 2018: An egg-and-spoon race, vodka and the Pogbas in Kazan|
|Queiroz tells his Iran players to follow the ´three Rs´ against Ronaldo and Portugal|
|Pizzi calm over Salah threat|
|Japan 2 Senegal 2: Honda gatecrashes Cisse´s party|