Neymar, Ronaldo & stars who took advantage of external offers to improve their contracts

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Several well-known players have exploited approaches from other teams to renegotiate terms with their respective clubs

Using interest from elsewhere as a tool to secure a better wage packet at their parent club has become more common for players in recent times. And while there is an air of moral questionability around it, the main observation is that it is a tactic that often bears fruit.

Some stars do not hesitate to go straight to the powers that be to negotiate improved deals, while others barely have to lift a finger as their clubs move swiftly to tie them down to extended contracts to avoid departures and fan anger.

Below, Goal has put together a list of big names who were handed a golden ticket by their management.

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    Steven Gerrard

    Year: 2005
    Under contract with: Liverpool
    Courted by: Chelsea

    Not long after the turn of the century, Chelsea tried to lure Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard to London.

    It is said that the Scouser gave serious thought to the move, having already won the Champions League with the Reds but continued to find Premier League glory elusive.

    In the end, following a group of fans burning a Gerrard jersey near Liverpool's training centre, the former England international backtracked.

    His loyalty was rewarded with a contract extension and a reported wage bump up to around £130,000 per week ($170,000).

    In the aftermath, Stevie G claimed it was never his intention to leave. Whether you want to believe that or not is entirely up to you.

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    Francesco Totti

    Year: 2005
    Under contract with: Roma
    Courted by: Real Madrid

    Francesco Totti is an icon in Rome, there can be no disputing that.

    The fact that he spent his entire career in the Eternal City provides the simple explanation required to understand the legendary status he enjoys in the Italian capital.

    However, the Giallorossi hit a wobble during Totti's peak years and the striker was close to moving on to pastures new: Real Madrid.

    Attracted by the opportunity to be named the next Galactico and having been consistently courted by Florentino Perez, the Italian was eventually convinced by his family and the Roma president to stay put.

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    Luis Suarez

    Year: 2013
    Under contract with: Liverpool
    Courted by: Arsenal

    In the summer of 2013, it became apparent that Arsenal were keen to sign an in-form Luis Suarez from Liverpool.

    Mere days before the end of the transfer window, a deal looked to have been struck and 'El Pistolero' was preparing to be labelled a traitor on Merseyside.

    After a long chat with Brendan Rodgers, however, the Uruguayan changed his mind and stayed at Anfield.

    Months later, Suarez was handed a new contract with a lucrative salary of £200,000 per week ($265,000), which at the time was a new record for the Reds.

    That hefty wage pack, however, would not be enough to stop him joining Barcelona after the World Cup in Brazil.

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    Sergio Ramos

    Year: 2015
    Under contract with: Real Madrid
    Courted by: Manchester United

    Louis van Gaal was desperate to sign some on-field leaders during his time at Manchester United and who better than Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos? Ramos was the Dutch manager's priority and discussions were opened between the two parties.

    At the time, Madrid were going through a transitional season and Zinedine Zidane had not yet taken the reins. Ramos weighed up the pros and cons and eventually decided the best thing to do was stay put.

    That decision may well have been helped along by Florentino Perez, however, who handed the centre-back a shiny new five-year contract worth €50 million (£42m/$56m).

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    Neymar

    Year: 2015
    Under contract with: Barcelona
    Courted by: Manchester United

    Having joined Barcelona in 2013, Neymar quickly established himself as a first-team regular, linking up wonderfully with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

    The 'MSN' trio was a nightmare for defences across Europe but Man Utd felt they could prise Neymar away from the free-scoring Blaugrana with a bid of €173 million (£147m/$195m).

    Barca, however, rebuffed the offer.

    The Brazilian continued with the Catalans for another year before swapping Spain for France in 2016, with PSG having paid his €240m (£205m/$270m) buyout clause in full.

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    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Year: 2016
    Under contract with: Real Madrid
    Courted by: PSG

    The man who whispered in Laurent Blanc's ear.

    During a Champions League night, the Portuguese goal-machine approached the then PSG coach for a quiet word.

    Of course, fans and pundits across the globe interpreted the gesture as a 'come get me plea'. Ronaldo had no intention of moving, but his plan worked to perfection.

    By pretending to want out, Florentino Perez opened his wallet and granted the five-time Ballon d'Or winner his umpteenth payrise - €32 million per year (£27m/$36m).

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    Lionel Messi

    Year: 2017
    Under contract with: Barcelona
    Courted by: Manchester City

    In 2017, Manchester City were allegedly ready to break the bank to sign a player many regard as the best in the world.

    The rumour mill was in full swing, reporting figures of a €250 million (£212/$280m) bid plus a salary of €50m (£42.5/$56m) per year for five seasons.

    Of course, no move would happen, but the rumblings led to Messi becoming one of the highest paid athletes in the world.

    The Argentine made a massive €40m (£34m/$45m) in the last two season, not counting bonuses and advertising revenue.

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    Antoine Griezmann

    Year: 2018
    Under contract with: Atletico Madrid
    Courted by: Barcelona

    In front of a backdrop the best Hollywood directors would be proud of, Antoine Griezmann created a massive air of suspense in 2018 when he had to decide to stay in Madrid or move to Barcelona.

    The gesture played on the nerves of both camps, but the French striker was – and is – in very high demand.

    In the end, he decided to stay. The 'sporting project' of Atleti made up his mind, presumably with a little help from his improved contract.

    The World Cup winner got what he wanted, but could be on the way out again this summer.