PSG Then & Now: A Football Fan’s Perspective From The Outside Looking In

GUEST POST BY REZI MOHAMED

Rezi Mohamed, a European football fan and avid supporter of AC Milan, has taken the time to write this Guest Post for 1970 PSG. He assesses the differences between the PSG of today, to the one before Qatar Sports Investments lavished Paris with superstar names.

Paris Saint-Germain. There is one reason this club will remain in my heart forever, and no it is not because of their money, players and ability to buy all the star talent from my Milan side.

In the video game FIFA 06, I remember watching the “Top Ten Goals of all Time” video. There I saw a brilliant curling finish from Pauleta after a stunning run topped off with a casual dink over the goalkeeper. PSG have made many world class footballers like Ronaldinho, Pauleta, Nicolas Anelka and George Weah. I use to always be under the impression that Les Parisiens produced the best young starlets, well that is until QSI bought into the club. In this article I will try to show how PSG transformed from an relatively unknown quantity (on the pitch) to the average fan, to one of the best sides in world football. I will also show which players complete the team and how they will affect this current Parisien side.

The club was founded in 1970, meaning it is a relatively young club. In those 42 years, they have won their fair share of titles and are known as one of France’s most prestigious club. A few years ago, clubs like Marseille and Lyon ruled French football, and clubs like PSG weren’t known by many people. Even the Parc des Princes was replaced by the Stade de France as the National Stadium of France. It seemed that PSG were slowly fading out of the minds of football fans. Even though PSG finished 4th in the 2009/2010 season, they did not seem to get much attention and still were not making the headlines too often.

However, everyone can agree that this is a thing of the past. During the transfer window, the social networking sites such as Twitter went crazy when we saw star players signing for the Paris based club and it is almost certain that Les Parisiens will dominate French football in the coming years because of these star signings. I actually believe that the club can win the UEFA Champions League within a few years.

Let’s think of the names in this new PSG side. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore. Less than three years ago, they relied on players like Stephane Sessegnon and Guillaume Hoarau.

PSG have very strong starting-XI this year and the best thing about them is that they have depth in the side. After many star signings, the club seems to be looking perfect. At the moment, the £25 million deal for Zlatan Ibrahimovic is turning out to be a bargain, as the big Swede has netted 11 goals this season already. We have also been seeing last year’s signing Kevin Gameiro getting his name on the score-sheet in recent weeks.

Another key forward this year has been Jeremy Menez. Just like at Milan, Zlatan is bringing the best out of his team-mates, and Menez is clearly benefiting from this. Not only is he providing assists and influencing the play, but the French International is scoring too.

So we already know that Les Parisiens are sorted in attack and that their strikers are banging in the goals every week, so now we need to see the link between attack the midfield and the defence.

We now look at the midfield. How can we compare 2012’s midfield which consists of Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta, Blaise Matuidi, Mathieu Bodmer(who played in the midfield in 2009) and Javier Pastore who plays as the attacking midfielder? The midfield three years ago consisted of Claude Makelele, Bodmer and Stéphane Sessegnon. Both midfield’s are strong, but I think we all know which one is the more effective. 2012’s midfield has Motta and Bodmer who both have strong defensive qualities which help the back line well. Marco Verratti is the link between the attack and the defence. He plays as a creative CM and is crucial to the team. Last but not least, we have Pastore who is the creative force in the team. If you ask me, without Pastore and Verratti, Zlatan would not be on as many goals as he is on today.

We now move on to the brick wall that is known as the defence. When you look at the names in that back-line, you just say “WOW”. Starting with the full-backs, we have former Ajax star, Gregory Van der Wiel, former Barcelona left-back Maxwell and of course, PSG’s captain Christophe Jallet. The full-backs play a vital role in giving crosses to Ibrahimovic, who we all know is very strong in the air. They also deal with opposition wingers, and from what I have seen, most sides in France use the full width of the pitch, so having strong full-backs is a necessity in Ligue 1.  Then you have the centre-backs of Thiago Silva, Alex and Mamadou Sakho who are three of the best in Europe.

So, what we are looking at here is a perfect team, strong attack, creative midfield, towering defenders, it seems that Carlo Ancelotti’s side has the lot. But PSG lack chemistry, and without that a team cannot succeed. I am not saying PSG are doing badly, they are undefeated in the league, but if you support the club, and hope to see European success, then you must be patient as it takes time for a team to click.

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