Paris Saint-German square off against Barcelona on Tuesday in the first of two Champions League match-ups between the two squads. The high-profile match is a chance for Paris to show they deserve to be counted among the world’s top football clubs.
It’s the moment legions of fans - and wealthy Qatari backers - have been waiting for impatiently. On Tuesday, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) confront FC Barcelona on Paris turf for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
For the Catalonian football club, the match is just one in a tournament they are used to playing in – and dominating.
For PSG, it is the chance to show that they have finally, after millions of euros in investment, become a premier club worthy of global status.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN VS. FC BARCELONA PROMO
Considered the underdog by far in the face-off, PSG have a few good reasons to believe in the impossible - that is, in beating the four-time Champions League title holders, led by a FIFA World Player of the Year for four years running, Argentina’s Lionel Messi.
Qatari investors with a majority stake in PSG have spent millions on high-profile players and coaching staff, but so far the money has brought the club neither trophies nor much attention beyond France.
To change that, PSG need big performances from some of their leading men, notably Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has attracted a lot of media attention since he moved to the French capital this season.
“I think we need to remain very focused,” Ibrahimovic told reporters this week in response to questions about how to beat Barcelona. “But above else, we have a coach who will put in place a strategy specific for this match.”
Former England captain David Beckham has enjoyed few opportunities to shine since he signed PSG in late January, and the much-hyped Champions League match could be the chance for the 37-year-old midfielder to prove to fans he is still a world-class footballer.
“We have the right players and the right focus to go far in the competition,” Beckam said. “Now all we have to do is prove it on the field.”
Midfielder Javier Pastore, who has experience playing alongside Messi on the Argentinian national team, also tried to muster courage in the face of the daunting challenge. “In football everything is possible. We need to pull off two great matches, remain very focused, and we can hope to qualify [to the next round],” he said.
Fans seeking reassurance could also look to the past for hope. In 1995, PSG knocked out Johan Cruyff's legendary Barcelona team from the tournament with a 3-2 goal advantage over two games.
Paris will also count on an electrified crowd at home. More than 700,000 fans tried to score tickets to Tuesday’s match at the Parc des Princes, a venue that seats just 45,000 people.
Tickets have reportedly sold for as much as 1,200 euros on the black market.
Date created : 2013-04-02