Friday, April 20, 2018

French Football Flag Flies High with PSG as Bannermen

Milos Markovic in Editorial, Ligue 1 10 Jan 2018

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French giants Paris Saint-Germain were founded less than half a century ago but in exactly 47 years of their existence, Les Parisiens’ contribution to French football has been immense.

As an extension of Stade Saint-Germain, the club formed in 1904, and its merger with Paris FC, PSG became the club that won the total of 34 trophies thus far which makes them the most successful French club in history.

A football infant compared to grandfathers of this game such as Ligue 2’s Le Havre or AS Strasbourg which date back to 1872 and 1890, respectively, PSG now carries the banner of French football history as both Ligue 1 and its most prominent side dream of European glory.

Ligue 1 Rebirth

Ligue 1 has this season become PSG’s playground with Les Parisiens sitting at its summit with huge 11 points ahead of closest contender AS Monaco and Lyon.

Early December’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of another side from Strasbourg ruined the unbeaten record for PSG this season but the advantage ahead of the closest rivals is still very much tangible and seemingly unattainable.

PSG’s early season dominance has seemingly offered a sound argument in favour of criticism towards the Ligue 1, which has been – over the past couple of years – generally perceived as uncompetitive. The top tier of French football had been pushed out of the limelight due to the emerging presence of the financially powerful Premier League, result-driven La Liga, highly attended Bundesliga and resurgent Serie A.

Rightly criticised for the lack of genuine competitiveness, Ligue 1 clubs are slowly rolling up their sleeves in a battle against financially dominant European peers. Qatari-owned PSG are holding the banner for the likes of AS Monaco, Marseille, Lyon and Nice who are doing their best to help Les Parisiens paint a brighter picture of Ligue 1 in the public.

Money Can Buy Happiness

In a constant argument with that famous claim that money can’t buy you happiness or love, the green bills are regularly providing proof to claim otherwise.

Qatar Sports Investments and the president Nasser Al-Khelaifi bought their way into the PSG fans’ hearts with money helping the man in charge become ‘the most powerful man in French football’ according to L’Equipe back in 2016.

With money came power and the ability to change the overall perception of the French football, which is slowly becoming a desired destination for some of the world’s biggest stars.

The emerging talents of Keita Balde, Adama Diakhaby, Terence Kongolo, Youri Tielemans and a couple of other notable new players in the Ligue 1 have all been overshadowed by the world-record signing of Brazilian forward Neymar.

Having brought former Barcelona star to Paris, PSG offered a promise of a better and brighter tomorrow – of a pop at European glory and a chance to fight for the most prestigious individual award every player dreams of.

In a way, PSG used the power of money to buy Neymar’s happiness which hit the early roadblocks in Paris. Brazilians individualism and apparent egoism took some acquiring and amending, whereas the financial voracity surrounding his move from Spain also took time to be eradicated.

European Hopefuls

With PSG as its bannermen, Ligue 1 is slowly becoming one of the most popular football competitions in Europe. Still not on par with England and Spain – in the first place – France is compensating through PSG’s circus-like showboating.

PSG scored 58 goals in the league alone this season, whereas their international and Cup exploits have been equally impressive. French heavyweights scored six to get past Rennes in Coupe de France just last week and are a sure bet at 9/5 for over 4.5 goals in their Wednesday’s Coupe de la Ligue trip to Amiens SC.

France now has a great chance to latch on PSG’s success and climb the top of European football for the first time since 1992/93.

Marseille’s formidable 1-0 win over AC Milan in the 1993 UEFA Champions League final was marred by later accusations of match-fixing where Marseille allegedly paid Valenciennes to lose a game and subsequent ban from participating in European football.

PSG now carry the responsibility of clearing the French name at the time when their own reputation is at stake with Financial Fair Play doubts and ongoing transfer spending probe with UEFA.

Reigning champions Real Madrid in the Round of last 16 is another issue, possibly for the some other article.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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