Champions League team guide: PSG in the spotlight

Sam McGuire
LiveScore
Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino endured a challenging debut season in Ligue 1
Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino endured a challenging debut season in Ligue 1

The Ligue 1 title race between Paris Saint-Germain and Lille went the distance last season. 

Both teams went into the final day with the opportunity to win it but Lille held their nerve — beating Angers to make PSG’s victory over Brest redundant. 

Mauricio Pochettino’s side won six of their final seven matches, only dropping points to Rennes in a 1-1 draw. 

That slip-up was enough to see Lille pip them to the title by a single point but Les Parisiens still qualified for the Champions League in second.

PSG's Champions League group

Group A: Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig, Club Brugge

European history

PSG made their first-ever final in 2020 and reached the semi-finals last season, with Manchester City preventing the Ligue 1 giants from appearing in the end-of-season showpiece for the second time in a row.

Despite significant investment over the last decade, PSG are yet to win the coveted Champions League trophy. 

They do, however, have two European trophies to their name. 

The team from the French capital lifted the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1996 and claimed the Intertoto Cup in 2001.

Mauricio Pochettino missed out on the Ligue 1 title by a single point during his first season as PSG manager
Mauricio Pochettino missed out on the Ligue 1 title by a single point during his first season as PSG manager

Expectations

Having added Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum, Achraf Hakimi and Sergio Ramos to a squad already bursting with talent, many will expect to see PSG in the final. 

Money does not necessarily guarantee success but individuals can influence proceedings in knockout football and PSG possess a host of players who are capable of a moment of magic. 

Having assembled a squad that previously only existed in the realms of fantasy football, a semi-final appearance will likely be considered the bare minimum. 

Star man: Lionel Messi

In what turned out to be his final season with Barcelona, Lionel Messi hit 30 goals in LaLiga
In what turned out to be his final season with Barcelona, Lionel Messi hit 30 goals in LaLiga

Argentine legend Messi had undoubtedly become the star man for Les Parisiens before kicking a ball for his new employers. 

Make no mistake about it, he was signed to help the club win the Champions League. 

Messi witnessed first-hand what this PSG team is capable of when the Ligue 1 side hit four past Barcelona at the Camp Nou last season. 

Now he will be tasked with masterminding their success in Europe’s elite club competition. 

The iconic forward is set to become the alpha in a dressing room filled with egos.

One to watch: Neymar

An injury-hit campaign saw Neymar's net just nine league goals for Paris Saint-Germain
An injury-hit campaign saw Neymar's net just nine league goals for Paris Saint-Germain

When he moved to France in 2017, the narrative was that Neymar wanted to escape Messi’s shadow. 

He is no longer the face of the club but ditching that burden could be what inspires the Brazilian livewire to reach new heights in Paris. 

Neymar has an opportunity to outperform Messi in the same team and will delight in taking up that challenge.

The boss: Mauricio Pochettino

Pochettino, 49, reached the Champions League final with Tottenham in 2019, where his side lost 2-0 to Liverpool. 

But he did at least end his trophy drought as a manager last year — guiding PSG to success in the Coupe de France. 

Pochettino will no doubt be looking to add more silverware to his collection, having finished as a runner-up in the League Cup, Premier League and Ligue 1 during his managerial career. 

With arguably the best squad in the world at his disposal, the pressure is now on the former Spurs and Southampton boss to deliver.

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