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Haloed by an extraordinary transfer window and its last performances in the Champions League, PSG starts the C1 on Wednesday in the unexpected position of the favorite. Against Bruges, the Parisians should line up their Messi-Neymar-Mbappé attack for the first time, which makes Europe dream and tremble.
Messi, Neymar, Mbappé, Verrati, Wijnaldum, Kimpembe, Marquinhos, Hakimi, Nuno Mendes, Navas, Donnarumma… Don’t throw away any more! The PSG scoresheet looks like an All-star team, cut to win any football competition. It remains not to trip over the red carpet for his start of the competition, Wednesday September 15 in Belgium at Club Brugge.
The third is the good one
“This time it’s the right one”: this is the fashionable air in the French capital, which is still waiting to become the second French club to win the Champions League, 28 years after OM. The Qatari version of PSG has always managed to get out of the Champions League groups, since the 2012-2013 edition.
Better, he has been used to joining the last four for two years. In 2020, he failed in the final against Bayern Munich (1-0). In 2021, the Parisian club was eliminated by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City after a double confrontation. He will find the Mancunians this year from the group stage.
Added to this good momentum is a stratospheric transfer window produced by the City of Light club. For the big ears of the coveted trophy, PSG offered Lionel Messi, who was thought to be forever linked to FC Barcelona, but also Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Nuno Mendes and Sergio Ramos.
Undefeated in the Championship (five wins out of five), PSG is currently bathed in a sweet euphoria. And, in Bruges, coach Mauricio Pochettino should line up his attacking trio Messi – Neymar – Mbappé for the first time, which is already making Europe salivate.
The whole of Europe dubs the ambitions of PSG
With such an armada, PSG has gone into another dimension. Club Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet easily understood this before facing the Parisian ogre: “It’s normal that we talk more about PSG than Club Brugge, we don’t only play against PSG but also against biggest star in the world [Messi, NDLR]. We are humble, we know that we are playing against the strongest, we accept the challenge”, explains the Belgian goalkeeper.
He is not the only one to see in the Parisians the future winners of the C1. Former Brazilian striker Ronaldo himself dubbed Kylian Mbappé’s teammates: “It’s still too early to know who will win the Champions League, the picture begins to take shape from the quarter-finals. Paris Saint-Germain is in pole position,” explained the Madrid legend. He warns, however: “‘Winning is not mathematical, even if you have the best team. That goes for PSG too.”
Ronaldo 🇧🇷 on PSG’s chances in the UCL: “It was the case for Real Madrid for five seasons with the Galacticos, but they never won the UCL. Winning is not mathematical, even if you have the best team. This also applies to PSG. »
— Actu Foot (@ActuFoot_) September 7, 2021
For L’Équipe, the leading French sports daily, PSG is the “natural favorite of the Champions League” ahead of Bayern Munich, Manchester City or Chelsea, yet the reigning European champions. Due to the huge reinforcements that arrived this summer, Paris are considered “the team to beat in the eyes of the rest of Europe”.
The Spanish newspaper AS qualifies Paris as “a new declared capital of football” with “a dream attack line alongside Mbappé and Neymar”. For the media close to Real Madrid, there is no doubt: “It’s now or never for the Parisians!” On the Italian side, the Parisians are “doomed to win the Champions League” and have “no excuse” in the event of failure, warns La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Beware of the English and Ronaldo
Who could oppose a Parisian final coronation? In addition to the Parisians themselves, known to stumble at the worst of times, the answer is certainly to be found across the Channel, where thanks to the relaxation of financial fair play (FPF), real armadas have been formed.
The English behemoths have drawn the checkbook, like City for Jack Grealish (117 million euros), and the “Blues” of Chelsea, reigning European champions, with Romelu Lukaku (115 million). The “Red Devils” outbid by recruiting Jadon Sancho (85 million), Raphaël Varane (40 million) and, above all, Cristiano Ronaldo, the darling of Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009.
The Portuguese superstar, after three mixed years at Juventus, felt he had a better chance of lifting the ‘Big-Eared Cup’ with the Mancunians – something he once did, in 2008.
After years of interminable rivalry in La Liga, will we see living legends Messi and Ronaldo face off in the final at their new respective clubs? The scenario is already dreaming.