• Mon
  • Sep 22, 2014
  • Updated: 10:51am
SportSoccer
SOCCER

Uncertain future for PSG despite success

Early league favourites failed to entertain with big-budget players and clear wins

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 May, 2013, 5:48am

Overwhelming favourites at the campaign's outset, Paris Saint-Germain were eventually able to celebrate winning the Ligue 1 title with two games to spare, but uncertainty surrounding the future takes some of the shine off the club's triumph.

No other team in France could keep up with a PSG side built thanks to the massive financial power of their Qatari owners, even if Marseille and Lyon provided greater resistance than had been expected.

However, there were times when it looked as if Carlo Ancelotti's team might crumble under the pressure, particularly during a dreadful five-game run in November and December when they collected just four points.

However, PSG's form since then saw them pull away once and for all and they ultimately have stayed in top spot since late January.

Despite their success, Ancelotti's style of play has come in for criticism as, for all the millions spent on the likes of Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, not enough exciting football was played.

Of course, the statistics speak for themselves - defensively, PSG are in line to beat the record for the most clean sheets in a top-flight season, while further forward Ibrahimovic is the most prolific striker seen in France since Jean-Pierre Papin at his peak more than two decades ago.

Plenty of progress has been made in the two years since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) bought a controlling stake in the club - they have won the title for the first time since 1994, and just the third time in their history.

But they could still have done better. Reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League - where they lost on away goals to Barcelona - must go down as a good performance, but they also failed to progress beyond the last eight in either domestic cup, losing on penalties to eventual winners Saint-Etienne in the League Cup and in another shootout to Evian in the French Cup.

Meanwhile, it is unclear whether Ancelotti will still be at the club next season amid speculation about a move to Real Madrid, and the loss of the Italian, despite the criticism, would be a considerable blow.

Finding a replacement of a similar calibre would not be easy for QSI and, if Ancelotti does go, many of the squad's leading players might reconsider their futures. Will Thiago Silva or Ibrahimovic, the two marquee recruits of last summer, wish to stay without the Italian?

The former AC Milan boss is held in high esteem by his players, and his track record is up there with the very best. Events in the coming weeks are likely to be pivotal for the new champions as they aim to begin a new era of domination at home and abroad.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or