THE sporting world was left licking its lips on Monday morning, as Real Madrid were drawn to face Paris Saint-Germain in the last-16 of the Champions League.
In what could easily have passed for the final of Europe’s elite competition, we’ll be treated to a host of football’s brightest stars, across two games in the French and Spanish capitals.
But amongst the glitz, glamour and romance of Paris and the stunning sights of Madrid, there are two names who stand out above all others.
Those, of course, are Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar…
The best of Brazil and Portugal’s finest will go toe-to-toe in early 2018 – a tie that’s already set pulses racing not only throughout Europe, but across the globe.
But CR7 and Neymar are more than just footballers… much like many of the game’s most popular names, they are a brand, a way of life.
Beautiful women, fast cars, multi-million pound sponsorship deals and luxury houses, the two giants of the sporting world are in many ways the epitome of modern football.
But who are Ronaldo and Neymar away from the field?
Off the pitch, Real Madrid and former Manchester United star Ronaldo has just welcomed his fourth child, with stunning girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez.
His eldest son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jnr, 7, is a budding footballer himself, with his dad regularly posting video updates on his stunning talent – including a very familiar free-kick routine.
Earlier in 2017, Ronaldo announced he had fathered twins via a surrogate mother in the USA – just a month before he confirmed partner Rodriguez was pregnant with their first child together – Alana Martina.
But Ron has no intention of stopping there, recently revealing he wants “seven children” to go with “seven Ballon d’Or” titles, having won his fifth earlier this month.
Neymar’s romantic life on the other hand is a little more complicated, with the Brazilian star enduring a real “Ross and Rachel”, on-off relationship with model and actress Bruna Marquezine.
The 22-year-old beauty – who boasts nearly 24million Instagram followers – dated football’s world-record signing for months, before calling it a day in 2014.
The pair rekindled their spark last year but Neymar, 25, announced they had called time on their relationship AGAIN in June.
He said: “I do not like to talk about personal things. But yes, me and Bruna are separated.”
However, the pair are regularly spotted cosying up to each other off the pitch as their tempestuous relationship refuses to die down.
Neymar does have one child, a son – Davi Lucca – with former flame Carolina Dantas.
On the birth, Neymar emotionally revealed: “I cried when I learned that I would be his father. At first, I felt fear. Then joy. It is a new responsibility and I am now enjoying it.”
When it comes to his loved-ones, the Brazilian is clearly a family man, as he and sister Rafaella Beckran are incredibly close – with the 77-cap Brazil international even haviong her face tattooed on his arm.
On top of that, Neymar has an inking of his mum and a separate etching of his dad’s eyes on his body.
Ronaldo on the other hand has always avoided having a tattoo – for the most wonderful of reasons.
The 147-cap Portugal international has refused to follow the likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi into the body-art… because he is a frequent blood donor – even becoming the face of charity Abbott in 2015.
Tattoos can affect blood donations, as there is often a precautionary waiting period of between six and 12 months.
Ronaldo’s gesture is an incredibly pure one… in a footballing world dominated by money, a selfless, non-financial outpouring is rare and very admirable.
After all, both Ron and Neymar earns cash by the bucket-load, not only in the form of their sky-high wage packets, but also in their numerous sponsorship deals.
PSG star Neymar is one of world football’s highest-paid players following his move to money-bags PSG in the summer, reportedly taking home £500,000-a-week after tax.
Ronaldo meanwhile pockets just shy of his Brazilian rival at around £365,000 per week… but arguably has the jump on him in terms of endorsements.
In fact, CR7 has one of the most lucrative endorsement portfolios on the planet, including a £15m-a-year deal with Nike – along with big-name sponsors such as Armani, Konami, Tag Heuer, Samsung and Herbalife.
Ronaldo’s annual income from these deals alone is said to be around £70m per year.
Meanwhile, Neymar rakes in a comparatively paltry, but still incredible, £20m per annum in sponsorship deals – with the likes of Beats, Gillette, Nike, Panasonic and Red Bull topping up his bank account.
But the forward, of humble roots in his native Brazil, ensures he donates ten per cent of every pay-cheque he receives to his church – after calling compatriot Kaka his “religious idol”.
Neymar is also regularly spotted at charity events in South America, including organising a charity football match ever year with another star, Nene, to help raise money for food for impoverished families.
Of course, while generous in their own right, both Ronaldo and Neymar still live the life of luxury.
From private jets and yacht trips to fast cars, stunning homes and famous friends, both players have it all off the pitch – a clear testament to their talent on it.
And that talent will take centre stage come February, when the pair get set to continue their rivalry on the field, when PSG travel to Madrid to take on Real in the pick of the Champions League last-16 fixtures.