Is this the season PSG finally win the Champions League?

Paris Saint-Germain have won the Ligue 1 title 10 times, the Coupe de France (French Cup) 14 times, the Coupe de la Ligue (League Cup) nine times and the Trophee des Champions (Champions’ Trophy) 11 times – all records – and that is more than impressive for a football club established in 1970.

However, despite their domestic dominance and being France’s most successful club, PSG have continued to struggle for relevance in Europe, with the defunct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Intertoto Cup their only recognized silverware on the continent.

Since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) – a state-run sovereign-wealth fund – purchased Les Parisiens in 2011, winning the Champions League has been their most important goal, but it has continued to elude them, with the 2020 final the closest they have ever come to winning the prized trophy.

Could free sports picks gamers have this season (2022-23) their year for PSG to finally break the duck?

The French giants have started the domestic campaign under new manager Christophe Galtier impressively well, but that is not new and is not news.

PSG have spent an estimated £1.2billion on transfers since their Qatar takeover a little over a decade ago, but nothing has changed as far as their lofty ambitions to conquer Europe go.

In 2011-12, they could only play in the Europa League after finishing the preceding campaign in fourth position, failing to make it out of a Group F that had Athletic Bilbao, Red Bull Salzburg and Slovan Bratislava.

The next season, PSG finished top of Group A ahead of Porto, Dynamo Kyiv and Dinamo Zagreb, defeated Valencia in the last-16 but were dumped out by Barcelona in the quarterfinals on away goals after 3-3 aggregate.

In 2013-14, the French heavyweights topped Group C ahead of Olympiacos, Benfica and Anderlecht, blew Bayer Leverkusen away in the last-16, only for the away goals rule to rear its ugly head again after a 3-3 aggregate with Chelsea in the quarters.

PSG could only finish second in Group F behind Barcelona in 2014-15, dumping Chelsea out in the round of 16 on away goals only for Barca to thrash them in the last-eight.

The following season, they dumped Chelsea out of the last-16 after finishing second behind Real Madrid in Group A, but Manchester City dumped them out in the quarters.

In 2016-17, they finished second in Group A behind Arsenal only to be eliminated by Barca in the last-16 despite winning 4-0 at home in the first-leg.

In 2017-18, PSG finished ahead of Bayern Munich, Celtic and Anderlecht in Group B, but they were eliminated by Real Madrid in the round of 16.

In the next campaign, the French moneybags could not progress beyond the last-16 again, with Manchester United dumping them out after topping Group C ahead of Liverpool and Napoli.

They finally impressed in 2019-20, getting the better of Borussia Dortmund, Atalanta and RB Leipzig in the Covid-forced one-legged knockout stages after leading Group A ahead of Real Madrid and Club Brugge, but Bayern Munich proved too much for them in the final with the help of PSG Academy Graduate Kingsley Coman.

In 2020-21, Mauricio Pochettino – their sixth manager since 2011 – helped them reach the semi-finals after Thomas Tuchel had overseen the group campaign where they topped Group H ahead of RB Leipzig and Man Utd.

They dumped Barca and Bayern Munich out, but Man City proved too hot for them in the semis.

Last season, PSG finished second in Group A behind Man City only for Madrid to eliminate them in the first knockout stage.

The Parc des Princes outfit will be expected to advance beyond the group stages for the 11th season on the bounce this term, but can they go all the way and win it?

Early signs show it is possible, with the trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe hitting the ground running in the new campaign.

The Argentine ended last season with six goals in 26 league games, but he has already bagged three in as many games so far this term.

Messi appears to have finally found his rhythm and mojo after last season’s struggles.

Despite weighing in with 14 league assists and five Champions League goals, 2021-22 was Messi’s worst campaign since 2005-06, but the seven-time Ballon d’Or is ready to dominate again after a season of bedding in.

At the weekend, the former Barcelona star provided an assist for Mbappe in the 7-0 win over Lille, and while that should not be a big deal ordinarily, it was the manner in which the two combined that made the news.

Neymar took the kick-off, played the ball backwards before receiving a pass from Marco Verratti.

The Brazilian then laid it off to Messi who instantly split the Lille defence open with a pass that found Mbappe.

The Frenchman raced in behind and lobbed the ball over Lille’s goalkeeper to open the scoring within eight seconds.

The PSG attacking trio can combine this season to help their side to a first Champions League title, and with all of them in fine form so far, just maybe this is the season the French side finally conquer Europe.

Josh Linus
Josh Linus
Josh can talk films for hours on end, discussing the really good cinema, the really bad, and anything in between. He enjoys everything - from epic fantasies to horror, from rom-coms to crime and action thrillers, from sci-fi to musical dramas.

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