The UNFP have announced the four nominees for player of the season, with three coming from Paris Saint-Germain. The soon to be champions boast Thiago Motta, Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic who join Monaco’s James Rodriguez who has had a sterling debut campaign in Monte Carlo. Everybody will have their opinion on who has been PSG’s player of the season, and it is difficult to deviate away from Ibrahimovic but for me the gong should go to a player who has been ever present, consistent and fundamental to the spine of the team. That is Thiago Motta.
Without question, this has been the 31-year-old’s best season in a Parisien shirt. You could even go as far to say that it has been his best in general. Last season he was plagued by injury which dampened his time at the club after initially settling in well under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti. The likes of David Beckham, Clement Chantome and Adrien Rabiot came in and did OK. But, having Motta’s presence in the centre of a midfield trio, just in front of the back four has made such a difference.
His sweeper like role has allowed Blaise Matuidi to have the freedom of buccaneering forward with Marco Verratti also being nurtured by having an experienced ally beside him. His Azzurri teammate has been a massive help and although Verratti still has a petulant side, he has come on again this campaign. In time, those flaws will be eradicated but there is no denying his importance to the present and future of this side. The three of them have without question have played a significant role in the club’s fortunes. Just before the knock-out stage defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League, you could have most definitely made a case for them being one of Europe’s best midfields.
Motta is a stalwart and the fact that an elite coach in Carlo Ancelotti identified him as one of the first signings he wanted to make upon arriving in the French capital said it all. He along with Maxwell joined at the same time at the beginning of 2012. You just have to look at what both have brought to Les Parisiens. There is no denying that they have been the two most underrated performers. With Zlatan, Edinson Cavani and the likes grabbing the headlines, Motta goes about his business casually – but in an effective manner. A player of his ilk has been a revelation, with this being the season where he has showed just how good a player he really is.
Motta scoring a goal is a rarity but having bagged six this season that has equalled his best ever tally at Genoa back in 2009. On top of that, he has earned a personal best in terms of assists with five – the latest coming last weekend away to Sochaux with a diligent ball into the path of ‘El Matador’ who finished with aplomb. Laurent Blanc must take credit because he identified a strength in the player’s game by putting him on set-pieces. This was evident at the beginning of the campaign in the Trophee de Champions final against Bordeaux and it worked a treat.
Paris would not be where they are without Ibrahimovic’s goals, or presence. Has he been PSG’s player of the season? You would have to say yes but I felt a player who is very rarely recognised for his vital contribution – which gets overlooked at times on the eye – should be bestowed with this recognition. This time last season I said exactly the same about Matuidi who took his time to win over Ancelotti but when he did, he has not looked back since. You can say the same for Motta who has not only put those injury niggles behind him but gone on to register his best season in a PSG shirt. Arguably, his best ever!