One of the richest clubs in world football
On 12 August 1970, Paris Saint-Germain came into being due to a merger of Paris Football Club and Stade Saint-Germain. The club adopted the Stade Georges Lefevre as its first stadium and defied expectations by lifting the Ligue 2 title in its first year of existence. The resulting promotion to Ligue 1 was followed by PSG moving into its current home, the magnificent Parc des Princes.
The early successes in the club’s history didn’t last long as the merger of the two clubs which led to the formation of PSG fell apart in 1972. That forced Paris Saint-Germain to ply their trade in the Division 3 of French football. The Les Parisiens didn’t toll for long in darkness and after earning back to back promotions were once again playing in Ligue 1 by 1974.
The arrival of the 1980s turned out to be a harbinger of success for the club, as after winning its first Coupe de France in 1984, PSG went on to lift its first league title four years later. The success opened the doors of European football for the relatively newborn side, and while it was unable to win any European trophy, PSG did delight the neutral with its attacking playing style.
Its near-misses in the 80s prepared PSG to become a notable force in Europe during the 90s. While many people are aware that it won the 1996 European Cup Winners’ Cup, most of them don’t know that PSG reached five consecutive European semi-finals in the last decade of the 20th century. Hence the reason why its first trophy out of France cannot be dismissed as a case of being ‘lucky’.
While it did add to its one Ligue 1 title by winning the 2nd one in 1994, the real turnaround in fortunes of PSG came in 2011. It was the year when new majority shareholders, Qatar Sports Investment, took over the club and started to flex their financial muscle. Their money helped the side sign star players and win eight out of the next 9 Ligue 1 titles, in addition to other domestic trophies.
Paris Saint-Germain’s takeover by the Qatar-based consortium in 2011 opened the floodgates of domestic trophies for the Les Parisiens. They went on to win more trophies in the next eight years (21) than PSG had won in all of the previous years of its existence (19). Despite this onslaught of silverware, there’s one area where PSG were better before the financial revolution than after it.
That area is the club’s performance in the European competitions. Since 2012, the Parc des Princes residents have been unable to make it past the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. After suffering three successive quarter-final exits between 2012/13 and 2015/16 seasons, they were dumped out in the Round of 16 in the following three seasons.
It doesn’t matter what the club has tried, nothing has been able to change their fortunes in Europe’s elite club competition. The Qatar-based PSG owners have brought on board four different coaches, signed players of the stature of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe, and spent over $1 billion on the PSG squad, but the club is yet to make a dent at the European stage.
Compare this situation with the club’s performances in Europe in the 1990s, and it turns out that PSG were better in Europe back then that they are now. The club qualified for two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup finals during that decade, of which they won the first and lost the second. That PSG team also reached the semi-finals of UEFA Champions League once and the UEFA Cup semi-finals on two different occasions.
Add up all their efforts in Europe during the last decade of the 20th century, and it turns out that PSG reached five consecutive European semi-finals in the ten-year spell. That achievement by the club before its coffers were flushed with Qatari money does well to debunk the myth that as the nouveau riche of European football, PSG have no history and are a plastic super club.
|Name||Weekly Wages||Contract until|
|Angel Di Maria||€255,000||2021|
|Eric Maxim Choupo Moting||€45,000||2020|
Source: Silly Season
Worst placement in the final table:
After being relegated a season earlier, PSG finished the 1972/73 season at 2nd place in Division 3 of French football, the lowest they have ever fallen in their history.
Least goals in a season:
In the history of the PSG team, no other season comes close to the 1987/88 season in this regard. In its 41 fixtures that season, PSG managed to find the back of the net a meager thirty-eight times.
Most goals conceded:
In the 1984/95 season, PSG managed to concede a whopping 88 goals in 52 games the club played in all competitions.
Worst goal difference:
After scoring only 51 and conceding 68 goals in 39 fixtures in all competition, PSG finished the 1971/72 season with an eye-popping goal difference of -17.
Least points scored:
Given the fact that they were relegated at the end of that season, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that PSG managed only 30 points in the whole of their 1971/72 campaign.
The PSG squad were able to put an underwhelming 10 victories on board in the whole of the 1971/72 season, the club’s worst-ever tally of victories to date.
In the 1984/85 season, the French giants lost 23 of the 51 games it played in all competitions.
Given the fact that the club’s coffers have been flushed with money in the past decade, it might be surprising for the neutrals to find out that PSG’s biggest success came almost two decades before its takeover by Qatar-based owners in 2011. The scene of that victory was the final of the now-defunct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, with Austrian outfit Rapid Vienna the French side’s opponents on the day.
For a team that came into that game as favorites, PSG had no experience of playing in the finals of a European competition. The best finish they had managed in Europe before that season was three successive appearances in the semi-finals stage. All of them had ended in heartbreak, giving the side that played in the King Baudouin Stadium that day extra incentive to go all out for victory.
While the build-up to the game was hugely eventful, the match itself was anything but. It seemed as if both the teams, who were playing in their first-ever European final, had allowed the occasion to get to them. The 37,500 fans watching the game from inside the area were watching a tactical masterclass in which both the managers had stacked their teams like a chessboard.
After the opening 29 minutes in which neither team threatened to open the scoring, a stroke of genius broke the deadlock. Bruno N’Gotty, the 26-year-old Lyon born center-back, scored a 40-yard stunner from a direct free-kick situation. That goal proved to be the winner and PSG, for the first time in their history, were able to add a European silverware to their trophy cabinet.
Twenty-three years later, one of PSG’s biggest defeats also met the club on the European stage.
Three years before that day, the Les Parisiens had given away a 4-goal lead it had accumulated in the first leg to lose 6-5 on aggregate at the Camp Nou. There were mitigating circumstances that day. The opposition was the mighty FC Barcelona. The ground was the intimidating Camp Nou. There were no such mitigating circumstances the next time the French side were on the receiving end of such a comeback.
After comfortably winning the first leg by a 2-0 scoreline at Old Trafford, PSG were the clear favorites to go through in their 2019/20 Champions League’s R-16 tie with Manchester United. With the second leg at home, they already felt as if they had one foot in the quarter-finals. To further fortify their confidence, Man United, under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, were a pale shadow of the great teams of the past.
However, just as it was the case three seasons ago, the French side were once again put to the sword. Two first-half goals from Romelu Lukaku – on either side of a Juan Bernat strike which gave the home side hope of still going through – were followed by a 94th minute Marcus Rashford penalty, and the French giants were once again dumped out of Europe in spectacular fashion.
Coming into their second leg tie at Barcelona in the 2016/17 Champions League round of 16, PSG were confident of seeing the better of the Catalan giants. Having won the first leg 4-0, they were 1/40 favorites of making it to the quarter-final. Five Thirty Eight’s Soccer Power Index gave PSG a 93% chance of knocking out Barca. Put simply, everything looked in favor of the French side.
Except it wasn’t. Barca, who needed four goals without reply to force the match to extra time, drew the first blood courtesy of a Luis Suarez strike. Two more goals in the first 50 minutes followed, and soon it looked as if PSG were crumbling. That same side that had looked as if it would humiliate Lionel Messi and co. looked ready to be humiliated itself.
And then the hint of hope arrived for PSG. Edison Cavani scored his 35th league goal of the season, and Barcelona needed three more goals to advance. Surely, the PSG fans must have thought in their minds, the tie was now over. Surely, the PSG manager Unai Emery must have told his coaching staff, start making preparations for the next fixture in the roster as this one was now in the bag.
Except it wasn’t. PSG felt that they had escaped the storm. Nobody told them that they were about to enter into the eye of it. The first hint of trouble arrived when Neymar, the future PSG player, scored in the 88th minute. It raised the spirits of those in the Camp Nou but the task was still monumental. Only two minutes of regular time and six of extra-time remained. Barca still had to score twice to go through.
And then the hint of hope vanished for PSG. Neymar struck again in the first minute of stoppage time to give his team the incentive to throw the kitchen sink at the nouveau rich French. The resulting spell of pressure got Barca a free-kick close to the half-line, which was delivered in the box by Neymar and put into the back of the net by Sergi Roberto. Mission Impossible was complete. And so was PSG’s humiliation.
Here are some of the fun facts you might not know about Paris Saint-Germain:
“Replace the Eiffel Tower”: When PSG fans pleaded with Zlatan Ibrahimovic to extend his four-year stay at the club, the Swedish striker replied in his unique fashion: “If they [the club] replace the Eiffel Tower with a statue of me [I would stay].”
“Buying a whole hotel”: At his unveiling as a PSG player, here’s how Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave an update about his ongoing house search in Paris: “We’re looking for an apartment. If we don’t find anything, then I’ll probably just buy the hotel.”
“Came like a King, Left like a legend”: While confirming that he had decided to bid farewell to Paris Saint-Germain, Zlatan quipped that he ‘came like a king’ and ‘left like a legend.’
“Cavani injuring Neymar”: During the three seasons which the duo spent together at the PSG, there was a less-than-friendly relationship between Edinson Cavani and Neymar. The world got to see the manifestation of that when, during a Champions League game against Napoli in October 2018, Cavani obstructed Neymar when the Brazilian was through on goal, before tackling the Brazilian to injure him in the process.
“Bullying Unai Emery”: Daily Mail reported some time ago that during his time as PSG manager, Unai Emery was bullied by his players to abandon his tried-and-tested 4-2-3-1 formation with a 4-3-3 that the PSG players found more to their taste.
“$1.15 million per goal”: During his first two seasons at PSG, the French giants paid Neymar $1.15m per goal or assist because of the repeated injury troubles which the Brazilian had to endure during his time in Ligue 1.
“Friends of Neymar”: There’s a popular joke in Neymar’s native Brazil that if you’re friends of the PSG superstar, you won’t feel the pinch of the country’s always ongoing economic and unemployment crisis, as the those close to the former Barca man earn £10k per month from him.
“Gift for attending Neymar’s birthday party”: Every attendee at Neymar’s 27th birthday party, which the Brazilian threw at the Pavilion Gabriel near Paris’ Champs-Elysees in February 2019, was given a custom edition pair of Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones.
“Mbappe calling out fake transfer rumor”: While rubbishing a transfer rumor which had indicated that Mbappe made astronomical demands of Paris Saint-Germain if they wanted to retain him at the club, the French World Cup winner cheekily tweeted: “Sorry you forgot something, Kylian Mbappé want to play goalkeeper” before adding ‘FAKE NEWS’.
Details are provided on the age of players, games played, minutes played, goals conceded, games conceded with no goals, yellow cards, red cards, yellow cards.
Official website of PSG
Wikipedia profile of PSG
PSG Twitter profile