Not since Real Madrid’s famous ‘Galácticos’ squad of the 2000s has a single club boasted so much individual talent.
Paris Saint-Germain’s dramatic capture of Lionel Messi — which will undoubtedly go down as one of the most shocking in football history — capped off what had already been an incredible summer of talent accumulation.
But can this squad deliver Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), who bought PSG in 2011, the Champions League — the trophy the owners crave the most, but has so far eluded them?
Messi’s addition to PSG not only provides Qatar with another feather in its football cap, but — given the Argentine’s status as one of the greatest players of all time — also puts the club and its owners considerably closer to achieving their ultimate goal.
The signings of highly-rated goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, Messi’s long-time adversary Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi — added to an already stacked squad that includes Neymar and Kylian Mbappé — mean PSG will unquestionably be the overwhelming favorite to lift this season’s Champions League.
“QSI bought PSG in 2011 because they wanted increased exposure for the country ahead of an eventual World Cup,” Christian Nourry, founder of Get French Football News, told CNN Sport.
“That World Cup is now coming, it’s only next year, but what’s happened over the course of this decade is that we’ve seen Al Thani, the owner, fall in love with this club, really taking a lot of interest in this,” added Nourry, referring to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“[It’s] far more than a pet project for him and he’s seen this opportunity to create potentially the greatest attacking troika we’ve seen in modern football in Mbappé, Neymar and Messi, but also there are no excuses now.”
At PSG, Messi will work under coach Mauricio Pochettino, a former player of the Parisian club and a fellow Argentine.
“Mauricio Pochettino must win absolutely everything, that includes the Champions League, and he must do so in style, because in style has been something that Paris Saint-Germain have really struggled to do, with a largely counterattacking style of play over the course of the last two or three seasons,” added Nourry.
No pressure, then, Mauricio.