PSG: The dark horses for the UEFA Champions League title

Ligue 1 champions PSG might not be one of the favourites but they possess the calibre to seize the UEFA Champions League crown.

Paris Saint-Germain have tried it all to win the coveted UEFA Champions League title. But unfortunately, Europe’s biggest title has eluded them. PSG did make it to the final in 2019/20 but ended up on the wrong side of the result.

Post that, they compiled a squad full of superstars to finally fulfil their desire to lift the Champions League trophy. Despite having the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Sergio Ramos, and Kylian Mbappe in their ranks, they were never really in touching distance of the title.

But, with most of their superstars no longer at the club and a nice balanced squad at Luis Enrique’s disposal, things could work in their favour when they are least expected to get it done. There is no pressure on Enrique to win the UCL in the 2023/24 season, which could actually work in their favour. Here are a few reasons why the Hard Tackle believes, PSG are the dark horse for the UEFA Champions League title this season.

The Round of 16 hurdle is behind them

In their last seven Champions League campaigns, PSG have been knocked out of the competition in the Round of 16 stage on five occasions. On the remaining two occasions, they have made it to the final and the semi-final.

While the draws have not been kind to them, and it has led to their downfall. They were still expected to go beyond the Round of 16, given the kind of quality they had in their ranks. But, unfortunately, Les Parisiens found ways of getting knocked out.

PSG had one of their strongest squads in the last few years. But even then, they could not make it to the quarter-finals in the 2021/22 and 2022/23 campaigns. However, they have managed to cross that hurdle this time out. The French giants have already made it to the quarters by knocking out Real Sociedad, and history suggests they could go a long way this season.

It is not about the stars, it is about the squad

In the last few years, PSG were more about the stars that played there rather than the club itself. They had a front three of Neymar, Mbappe and Messi. And in reality, the French giants were stacked with stars from top to bottom. Despite having quality players in their squad, the attention was always on the front three.

Playing them together did bring a lot of media attraction and it was a spectacle for the fans. The trio was not effective enough in the Champions League. Neymar had his struggles with injuries but even when all three of them started together, the defensive side of things got compromised.

But, now that the majority of their superstars are gone and the focus is on young talented players, things could end differently for PSG. They still have some of the best players, but it is a mixture of experienced stars and young prospects. On top of that, they have a quality manager in Luis Enrique, who has won the Champions League in the past and can surely do it with this squad.

A dream farewell for Mbappe

Mbappe will not be extending his stay at PSG, as the French World Cup winner will part ways with the club at the end of the season. Leaving the club after winning the Champions League could be the best possible way to say goodbye.

PSG have spent a fortune on players who can help them win the UEFA Champions League. Mbappe was one of their initial big-money investments and to date, they have spent millions in order to have him in their ranks. Les Parisiens managed to build a squad of superstars around him and even then they could not get their hands on the UCL title. But, 2024 could be their year.

PSG are in the quarter-finals, they have a balanced squad with an exceptional manager and their star man Mbappe is once again on fire. In his 34 appearances this season, the French international has 34 goals and seven assists.

Enrique is preparing for life without Mbappe, and he has often subbed him off, which is expected to carry on in the league until the very end. This could actually work in their favour as those around the French forward will now have added responsibility, and they will need to bring the best out of themselves.

Meanwhile, it will also keep Mbappe fresh and ready to go in the UEFA Champions League. They only have two more hurdles before they make it to the final, and if things click they can surely challenge the favourites like Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan for the title.

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