Porto will provide PSG’s first serious challenge of the season
On the eve of PSG’s Champions League fixture away at Portuguese champions Porto, striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has claimed that the Ligue 1 outfit are already ‘far better’ than his former club, AC Milan.
The 30-year-old Swede signed for Carlo Ancelotti’s side from Milan in the summer for a reported £31m, and his form this season has helped the Parisian club climb to second in Ligue 1 and to the top of their Champions League group.
But just how successful can PSG be in this year’s Champions League competition? Can they compete with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and seven-time Champions League winners, AC Milan?
Tomorrow night, PSG take on Porto, one of the most respected sides in European football, and the French side’s performance will be a good indicator of exactly where the team is in terms of European pedigree.
In many ways, Porto are not too dissimilar to PSG.
The 2004 Champions League winners sit second in their domestic table, and after 20 transfer dealings in and out of the club in the summer, Porto are a team in transition.
After hammering Dynamo Kiev in their opening Champions League fixture, PSG will be keen to lay down a marker to the rest of Europe by showing they can beat the continent’s elite away from the familiarity and comforts of their Parc De Princes home.
Having scored 30 goals in 91 Champions League appearances, Ibrahimovic will be key to PSG’s success in Portugal, and indeed for the rest of the campaign.
In the league this year, he has scored seven times in six appearances, and the 6ft 5in striker will need to carry that form into the Champions League if PSG are to harbour hopes of progressing further in the competition.
However, for all their foreign imports, PSG also have a strong core of French talent in their side, and Ancelotti will be looking to the likes of Jeremy Menez and captain Christophe Jallet to lead from the front in the hostile atmosphere of the Estadio do Dragao.
PSG will need to be strong, and will need to play with the freedom displayed so far in their Ligue 1 campaign.
Despite being without the injured Thiago Silva, Argentinian forward Ezequiel Lavezzi is back in the squad after an injury layoff and 19-year-old Italian playmaker Marco Verratti – who has been hailed as Andrea Pirlo’s international team successor – should feature.
Tomorrow’s game is a huge challenge for PSG, perhaps their first real challenge of the season, and given Porto’s experience and success in the competition, the French side will probably go into the game as marginal underdogs.
But this is a chance for PSG to prove they have what it takes to compete with Europe’s best, and if they are indeed ‘far better’ than AC Milan, then Ibrahimovic and his teammates should be looking to come away from Portugal with a positive result.
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