Paris Saint-Germain have no excuses not win the Champions League this season. Anything less than being crowned European champions for the first time would be failure, it is that simple.
The arrival of Lionel Messi, six-time Ballon d’Or winner, is the main reason. But four-time European champion Sergio Ramos is a big reason himself, as is fellow new signing Georginio Wijnaldum.
That is also not to forget Achraf Hakimi, arguably the best right-back in the world, or Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was player of the tournament at Euro 2020 and has the potential to become the best goalkeeper in the world for the next 10 years.
PSG are playing fantasy football and have assembled a modern day dream team.
Only paying a formal transfer fee for Hakimi and signing the other superstar arrivals as free agents, PSG have taken full advantage of the opportunities that have arisen this summer.
The lack of a buying market elsewhere has also meant that Neymar had no better offers other than to commit his long-term future to the club. Mbappe, meanwhile, is unlikely to leave this summer even if he is ultimately planning to move on when his contract expires in 2022.
The prospect of a forward line of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe is frightening, with Angel Di Maria hardly a drop in quality as a back-up. Then think of Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe at the back guided by Ramos’ years of experience, and Marco Verratti and Danilo Pereira boosted by Wijnaldum.
Between them, Messi, Ramos and Wijnaldum alone have brought Champions League winning experience to PSG from victories in 2006, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
PSG’s improvement of their own squad with Messi, Ramos, Wijnaldum, Hakimi and Donnarumma has also come at a time when most other big clubs are not in a position to realistically challenge.
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are no longer the forces they were in the 2010s, while Inter’s Serie A title winning team is already being disassembled and sold off. Liverpool have hit their peak and are on the way down, while Bayern have also gone through some changes since 2020.
Chelsea won the Champions League last season as the fourth best team in England and Manchester United are still not quite ready to go for it just yet. Manchester City, last season’s losing finalists, are likely to be the biggest threat but have their own longstanding Europe complex to break.
Given that Messi, Ramos and Wijnaldum are all in their 30s, the window for European dominance is only short. But their quality in the short-term gives PSG the best squad in Europe by far, making the 2021/22 Champions League theirs to lose.
If, after all that, they still cannot get their hands on the elusive trophy, there shouldn't be any hope that they ever will.
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