Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. One at the pinnacle of football, another jetpacking their way to the top.
Let's begin with a preface, shall we?
Paris Saint-Germain wanted Europe at their feet. They started off with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham, built a squad which dominated Ligue 1, but couldn't break into the league of European elites. So, they needed to make a bigger statement. Needed one of the best in the business, the one who could potentially go on to dethrone the top two, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Neymar's arrival grabbed the headlines, Paris meant business. Kylian Mbappe was brought in, too, forming one of the most lethal attacks in football. But despite the big names and their filthy rich Qatari owners, PSG still have a long way to go before even touching the levels achieved by Los Blancos.
No team in the world can match Real Madrid in terms of trophies as of now, we know that already. However, the whites aren't just a force to be reckoned with on the pitch, as a brand there's hardly anyone bigger. Reigning World champions, Real Madrid made a turnover of 647.6 million euros last year, almost 200 million more in turnover than PSG - who made 486.2 million. Can the French outfit ever catch the Spanish giants?
Real Madrid's finances weren't always as smooth as they are now. When president Florentino Perez took over, Real Madrid were in debt, with no hope of turning things around. Perez, an astute businessman, didn't focus on the club's weaknesses, he took it as a business opportunity, where he was one of the biggest sharks in the sea. He pulled the right strings and managed to bail Real out of debts. Now, it was time to rebuild!
The Galactico policy, flawed as it was, worked like a charm. Real made sure all the biggest names played for them, bringing their own sets of fans with them. Galacticos played good football, and steadily, Real Madrid became one of the biggest brand in football.
The Los Blancos have broken the world-record fee five times between 2000-2013, bringing in Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Gareth Bale. Irrespective of how they performed ON the pitch, they always managed to perform fantastically well OFF it.
Jose Maria Gay de Liebana, an economics professor at the University of Barcelona, summed up the Real-PSG saga in one simple statement: "If we go to the other side of the world and ask people, everyone knows Real Madrid, and this isn't the case yet for PSG," as quoted byFrance24.
Paris have adopted Madrid's Galactico policy quite handsomely, bringing in the big names, promoting them in booming markets, however they are still miles away in becoming a brand name like Real Madrid.
And despite all of that, everything, still boils down to one simple aspect, how well they perform on the pitch. Can they play engaging football? Can they win trophies? And can they steal Real's sweetheart underneath their nose, the ever-elusive UEFA Champions League?
Many questions to answer, the match tomorrow will go a long way in answering some of these questions!