Paris Saint-Germain Profile
|Major Honours||Ligue 1 (9), Coupe de France (13), Coupe de la Ligue (9), UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1)|
Paris Saint-Germain have gone from mid-table dwellers to European title contenders. Planet Sport looks at the story behind PSG and how they came to be the dominant force of French soccer.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) are a French soccer club who currently compete in Ligue 1, the country's top flight. PSG were founded in 1970 and over the years they have seen many high-profile players represent them including Brazil's Ronaldinho, Nigeria's Jay-Jay Okocha, Liberia's George Weah and France's Claude Makelele.
However, PSG are most famous for their domestic success since 2011, when they were taken over by Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, ruler of Qatar.
PSG made their first ever UEFA Champions League final in 2020, losing to Bayern Munich.
On August 12, 1970, Paris Saint-Germain were formed as a result of a merger between Paris Football Club and Stade Saint-Germain. They won Ligue 2 and earned promotion to Ligue 1 in their first season.
In 1972, the club split again, with PSG relegated via the boardrooms into Division 3. Paris FC remained in Ligue 1. However, PSG soon surpassed Paris FC and 1974 saw them win promotion back to the top flight. The club also moved into the Parc des Princes stadium.
In 1982, PSG won their first major trophy - the 1982 Coupe de France. They won their first French top-flight title in 1986 but subsequently fell into decline prior to being taken over by television company Canal+.
The first golden era
The 1990s saw PSG enjoy their first golden era. They won the Ligue 1 title in 1993/94 and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup two years later. Furthermore, the decade saw them win the Coupe de France in 1992/93, 1994/95 and 1997/98. David Ginola, George Weah and Rai were key players in a side which was consistently competitive in France and Europe.
PSG struggled in the 2000s to replicate their 1990s form despite having talented players such as Ronaldinho and Pauleta on their books.
PSG, Ronaldinho and Pauleta
In 2001, PSG signed attacking midfielder Ronaldinho in a €5million transfer from Gremio. He came into a side which also featured Jay-Jay Okocha, Nicolas Anelka and Aloisio Jose da Silva.
The Brazilian impressed in the 2001/02 campaign, scoring nine goals in 28 Ligue 1 appearances. However, he was criticised by manager Luis Fernandez for allegedly being too focused on partying and matters outside of soccer.
Ronaldinho didn't quite hit the same heights in 2002/03. After PSG finished 11th in Ligue 1 and missed out on qualification for European competitions, he left to join Barcelona.
The sale financed the arrival of Pauleta from Bordeaux in a transfer reportedly worth €12million. The Portugal striker went on to score 109 goals in 211 matches for PSG in a five-year spell.
Pauleta retired from soccer at the end of the 2007/08 season, which saw PSG narrowly avoid relegation. The player later made a brief comeback with Sao Roque in Brazil.
New golden era
State-backed Qatar Sports Investments bought a 70% stake in PSG in June 2011. They bought the remaining 30% from Colony Capital early in 2012. At the time, PSG had not won Ligue 1 since 1994.
Leonardo became PSG's director of football and Carlo Ancelotti became their manager in January 2012. Javier Pastore, Thiago Motta and Jeremy Menez were among the early signings.
Between 2012/13 and 2015/16, PSG won four league titles in a row. Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani were key players during this era. Despite changes in management, PSG repeatedly fell short of landing the Champions League trophy.
In 2016/17, PSG lost the Ligue 1 title race to AS Monaco. They responded with the world record €222million transfer of Neymar from Barcelona, while also signing Kylian Mbappe on loan in a deal which would go on to become permanent.
PSG won Ligue 1 in 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20. In the last of these seasons, with Thomas Tuchel presiding over the team, PSG qualified for the first Champions League final in their history. However, they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich.
PSG's biggest rivals
PSG have had several fiercely contested Champions League ties against Chelsea. One particularly heated matchup was in 2014/15, as PSG progressed to the quarter-finals with David Luiz scoring against his old club. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had been controversially sent off following pressure from Chelsea players against the referee.
There is also a rivalry between PSG and Barcelona, largely as a result of their shared history in the Champions League. In 2017, Barca overturned a 4-0 deficit to knock PSG out of the competition, only for PSG to sign Neymar later that year.
The two teams were drawn against each other in the round of 16 in the 2020/21 Champions League.
PSG also have a bitter rivalry with Marseille, who are one of the traditional powers of French soccer but have struggled for glory during PSG's era of dominance. There is also a rivalry with AS Monaco borne out of competing for honours.
PSG have gained a global following as a result of their superstar signings and their dominance of French soccer. However, there is still some way to go before they can truly catch the established European elite.
Locally, PSG have a passionate and loyal fanbase which has existed for some time. Many longstanding PSG supporters can now enjoy the success they craved for some time.
PSG announced a club record €637.8million in revenue for the 2018/19 financial year. This was a far cry from the financial difficulties they had prior to investments from Qatar.
At the time of writing, PSG are the 11th most valuable soccer club in the world according to Forbes. Their value was $1.092billion as calculated in May 2019.
Apart from the mega-money Neymar transfer, Kylian Mbappe cost PSG €180million. This was also one of the most expensive soccer transfers of all time.
In 2019, PSG won a legal battle against UEFA, who were investigating alleged breaches of their Financial Fair Play rules, via the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The investigation had initially begun in 2017. Questions were raised regarding how PSG had been able to sign Neymar for such an astronomically high fee by the club's rivals.