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.
|United States reveal Ryder Cup practice groupings|
|Bulldogs´ fine for ´Mad Monday´ antics halved|
|Bennett to leave Broncos after 2019 NRL campaign|
|American League postseason picture becomes clear|
|Steelers edge Buccaneers for first win|
|Gatland wants Webb available for World Cup|
|Modric: Ronaldo, Messi out of this world but my season deserved recognition|
|Love says Cavs ´will surprise a lot of people´|
|George believes Thunder can compete for championship this season|
|Messi is the greatest ever – Eto´o|
|Messi to miss Argentina´s upcoming friendlies|
|Dolphins say Hayes tore ACL attempting to avoid roughing-the-passer penalty|
|Modric deserved FIFA Best award – Ramos|
|Thibodeau open to potential Butler trade|
|Modric wanted Ronaldo, Messi at awards ceremony|
|Brewers´ Yelich active after elbow hit|
|Anthony on coming off Rockets´ bench: Whatever I have to do to help this team win|
|Raiders coach Gruden says Mack trade was hard on players|
|Bale lauds ´unbelievable´ Modric after FIFA Best triumph|
|Ronaldo, Messi lacked respect with FIFA Best awards snub - Capello|
|New Zealand the benchmark but England can win World Cup - Mitchell|
|FIFA Best Award a dream come true for Modric|
|Lakers a long way from Warriors, warns LeBron|
|Milner pokes fun at Salah´s Puskas Award win|
|Josh Rosen to replace Sam Bradford as Cardinals starting quarterback|
|Kaymer: Home-course advantage crucial to Europe hopes|
|Marta and Pedros win FIFA Best awards|
|I want to be in Toronto - Kawhi Leonard focused on Raptors, not future|
|Messi and Ronaldo lead FIFPro World XI as Salah and Neymar miss out|
|Knicks´ Kristaps Porzingis ´itchy´ to return but won´t commit to 2018-19 season|
|Modric beats Ronaldo and Salah to FIFA Best prize|
|49ers confirm ACL tear for QB Garoppolo|
|Salah beats Bale and Ronaldo to Puskas Award|
|Deschamps wins FIFA Best Men´s Coach award|
|Law to leave Windies for Middlesex role|
|Sunderland terminate Ndong´s contract|
|Spalletti warns rejuvenated Inter against complacency|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Figo in town as USA arrive in style|
|Browns name Baker Mayfield starting QB|
|Chelsea need to be more versatile, warns Giroud|
|Paris Saint-Germain FFP case referred by UEFA back to CFCB Investigatory Chamber|
|Busy Bertens ready for bed, Muguruza gains Wimbledon revenge|
|Hart ready if England come calling - Dyche|
|Ryder Cup 2018: An honour and a burden - the unique challenge of captaincy|
|Hibino beats Bouchard again at the Tashkent Open|
|Falcons lose Ricardo Allen for season|
|Mbappe three-match ban stands following appeal|
|Tomic wins first Tour-level match since Wimbledon in Chengdu|
|Ryder Cup diary: Scoreboard shocker, captains tight-lipped|
|Mourinho will spawn lots of managers - Lampard|
|Furyk outlines Woods´ Ryder Cup motivation|
|Tiger doesn´t scare Team Europe - Bjorn|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Team USA profile|
|Woods winning ´incredibly special for golf´, says Poulter|
|Grealish commits to Aston Villa with five-year deal|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Four reasons why Team USA will win|
|Herrera ready for return - Mourinho|
|Bellew determined to prove doubters wrong against Usyk|
|Lewandowski and Boateng´s professionalism impresses Kovac|
|WATCH: Sheepish Murray comically drops commemorative plate in China|
|Cech: Arsenal have forgotten how to win Premier League titles|
|Lemar must adapt to Atleti style, says Simeone|
|Toulon to appeal suspended points penalty|
|AFE rejects Miami plan for Girona-Barca|
|Messi and Ronaldo to decide world´s best young player|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Talisman Poulter key to European hopes|
|Pogba hits out at critics who ´create drama´|
|Barcelona to appeal Lenglet red card|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Team Europe profile|
|Patriots´ Gronkowski threatened to retire if traded to Lions|