Sunday, 11 March 2018

Paris Saint-Germain Prove That Money Cannot Buy Glory

by Sudeep Ghosh

Unai Emery
Although Paris Saint-Germain have been playing fantastic football domestically in the last few years, their success in European football has not correlated positively. One way that they planned to venture better in Champions League football, was by spending millions and millions to create the perfect squad. They began their spending spree in early August 2017, by smashing the world record for highest transfer. Brazilian international, Neymar was signed from Barcelona FC for €222,000,000 thus making the previous world record of £89,000,000 seem microscopic in comparison. However, PSG were not finished with their extravagant spending. By the end of the month, they had also signed French teenager, Kylian Mbappe for a rumoured €148,000,000. This meant that PSG had signed the two most expensive players in the world, within the same month.

Luckily for PSG manager Unai Emery, PSG started strongly in the French League. They reached 1st place during the third week, and remain first to this day, with their sixth league trophy well in their sights. There were some initial personality clashes between Neymar and star striker Edinson Cavani, who was the most expensive signing in French football history, at the time of his signing in 2013.  These differences were soon resolved, and the trio of Neymar, Cavani and Mbappe quickly became one of the most feared trios in the world.

Despite the domestic success enjoyed by PSG, many critics were still doubtful about whether PSG were, in fact, one of the best teams in the world. They argued that the French league was perhaps less competitive compared to other leagues, and the reason that PSG were looking so dangerous recently, was due to the fact they were competing against weaker oppositions.

It was clear that PSG would have to play exceptionally well at the Champions League to prove the doubters wrong, where they would engage with the best teams in world football.
PSG started their Champions League campaign in the best way possible. They scored the most group stage goals in Champions League history with a blistering 25 goals in just 6 matches. During this incredible run, they were able to beat 2013 Champions, Bayern Munich, in convincing fashion (3-0), before finishing top of their group.

PSG could not have been more confident as they waited to see which randomly-selected team they would play in the knockout round. Unfortunately, they were drawn with reigning champions, Real Madrid FC. However, Real Madrid FC were having a difficult few months domestically, and surprisingly finished second in their respective group. They had also suffered a shock exit from the national league cup. Meanwhile, morale at PSG had never been higher, and they were eager to face  a struggling Real Madrid FC.

However, PSG were no match for the class and maturity of 12-time champions Real Madrid FC. Cristiano Ronaldo, the highest scoring player of all time in the Champions League, scored twice, proving again that he is arguably the greatest player in the competition’s history. PSG were confident that they could stage a comeback when they welcomed Real Madrid FC to their home stadium. Unfortunately, a week before the fixture, star-man Neymar was sidelined with an injury, meaning that he would miss the match. His absence proved costly, as yet another goal from Cristiano Ronaldo was enough to silence to Paris crowd, and book Real Madrid a place in the quarter-finals.

Before the two matches, Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid FC were under scrutiny, and PSG were continuously showered with praise. Now the tables have turned, and manager, Unai Emery finds his job at risk. PSG’s swift exit from the Champions League, combined with the fact that they have invested in a squad worth hundreds of millions of pounds, successfully proved that money cannot always buy glory.

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