Paris Saint-Germain take on Barcelona in clash of ideologies

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 April, 2013, 5:25am


Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona have reached the pinnacle of the European game with very different strategies, and the Catalan club will be hoping to show their nouveau riche opponents that their way is still the best when the two meet tonight in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Paris Saint-Germain have been here before, but not for a long time. This is their first Champions League quarter-final since they beat Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate 18 years ago, before losing to Milan in the last four.

Top of Ligue 1 and on course to win the French domestic title for the first time since 1994, these are good times to be a PSG supporter, even if the club does appear to epitomise the exact opposite of Barcelona.

Paris Saint-Germain can compete with the best in the business because they had more money at their disposal than anyone else with the arrival of new Qatari owners in 2011. A whole new team has been bought, with former Barcelona target Thiago Silva and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic - who played for the Catalan club in 2010-11 - the most significant recruits.

Just two years ago, average attendances at the Parc des Princes had fallen drastically. Now, the ground is sold out most weeks, and there were a million requests for tickets for this game.

Aiming to win the Champions League for the fourth time in eight seasons, Barcelona are one of the richest clubs in the world too, and are also backed by Qatari investment via a shirt sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foundation. But they lead the way when it comes to producing world-class players, rather than simply buying them.

No less than seven home-reared talents started Barcelona's 2-2 draw on Saturday at Celta Vigo, in which the Catalan club conceded a late equaliser after Lionel Messi had netted his 43rd La Liga goal of the season.