Move over Manchester City, Real Madrid and Chelsea - there's a new club calling the shots in the global transfer market. Paris Saint-Germain have moved into phase two of their “world domination” plan, which has seen the French team splash the cash in a major way.
With the fine print on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract finally worked out, it is time to take a closer look at what the mega $80 million transfer of the Sweden striker and Brazil defender Thiago Silva from AC Milan means for PSG and football as a whole.
Earlier this year I spent a few days talking to the power brokers at PSG, whose new motto “dream bigger” is splashed all over their stadium, and saw for myself they were serious about becoming a major power in world football.
Putting the pride back into PSG: Qatari owners aim to be world's best
Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi told me he wanted PSG to be right up there competing for major honors with Barcelona, AC Milan and Manchester United.
One could have been tempted to say talk is cheap, but the owners have certainly put their money where their mouth is since the Qatari Investment Authority bought the two-time French champions in June 2011.
Phase one saw them lay the foundations for future success. High-profile players such as Javier Pastore, Jeremy Menez and Diego Lugano were brought in, and a few months later, the owners invested in a coach with a winning mentality and proven record - Carlo Ancelotti.
French football's $56M man: PSG poster boy Pastore
Perhaps the biggest deal for PSG was the signing of former Milan stalwart Ancelotti, who won the European Cup twice as a player and its successor the Champions League twice as a coach.
The objective in the first year of PSG's new project was clear: to win Ligue 1. The French championship isn’t exactly the most challenging on the planet and after the initial investment made, Al-Khelaifi was expecting to take the title.
It didn’t happen, with Montpellier holding on to first place, and in my mind that is why the owners have been so aggressive in the transfer market again in preseason - they want to win trophies and they want to win them now.
Which brings us to the transfers of Ibrahimovic and Silva, with a deal for the former confirmed by the club's general manager Leonardo on Tuesday.
There are two reasons why PSG are willing to invest so heavily in these players and their salaries.
The first is obviously because both of them are world-class stars and will make a big impact. The second is that it sends a clear message to the football world that Paris Saint-Germain mean business and that they have arrived on the global stage.
However, I would question the decision to bring the turbulent Zlatan to the "City of Light."
If his work ethic has been far from impressive at powerhouses like Internazionale, Barcelona and AC Milan, then how is it going to be any better at PSG?
I believe even if he makes $18 million a year, he won’t really care that much about playing in Ligue 1. In the Champions League he may try his best but in the domestic championship? Not a chance.
Remember this is a player who once ran only 400 meters more than goalkeeper Victor Valdes during a Champions League game between Barcelona and Inter back in 2010. Is he really going to give his heart and soul in a league that has a lower average attendance than the United States' MLS? Uh… no.
As far as the impact this deal will have on the world of football, I don’t think it can be ignored. When was the last time you saw two major international stars at the peak of their powers leave a Serie A giant and head to France?
I would say never. It shows that even the all-powerful AC Milan is not immune to the global recession (owner Silvio Berlusconi has stated the deal will save the club $185 million over two years) and it also shows that in modern football, money truly speaks louder than any feeling any player may have for any club or any league.
With the likes of Didier Drogba moving to China, Asamoah Gyan going to the UAE, Samuel Eto’o heading to Russia and Zlatan going to France, it’s pretty clear. Players are making a dash for the cash.
You speak disparagingly of Zlatans supposed work rate yet provide one hotly disputed example of it. He is a top class professional athlete, there is no doubt whatsoever he has worked incredibly hard to get to the level he is at. He could run about chasing the ball, anyone can, but it would be a complete waste of his talents. If you want to maximize his impact put him up front and give him the ball, against England Sweden did this – whilst the other 9 outfield players ran around – and Ibrahimovic ran the game. He is an outstanding footballer with a great goalscoring and trophy record at every club he has been at (yes, even Barcelona) and is one of the finest footballers of his generation. People like you will continue to criticize his "work rate" but do so without even the slightest understanding of the dedication you have to put in to be one of the best football players on the planet.
Ibrahimovic is one the biggest under performers in football history.
"His work ethic has been far from impressive at powerhouses like Internazionale, Barcelona and AC Milan." This is your comment about the player who won eight league titles in last nine years and some of them single -handedly. Your football knowledge is embarrassing. Please do us a favor and do something else for a living.
To Pedro Pinto: Thanks for an interesting article, but I don't agree the least with your opinion about Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
How can you say that Ibrahimivoc's work ethic been far from impressive in Inter, Barcelona and Milan?
Played 3 seasons in Inter, won the league every year, was chosen foreign player of the year all 3 years if I'm not mistaken, was the best goalscorer of the team all 3 years, was the best goal scorer in the Italian league in 2008/2009, was chosen the best player in the Italian league 2008/2009,
Barcelona: Played 1 year, won the league, scored 16 goals in the league 6th in the whole league, scored 2 goals in the Champions league quarter final against Arsenal before being injured, scored the only and match-wining goal against Real Madrid in the first clasico of the season, Scored in his first 5 league games of the season, which was a new record, won the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup.
Milan, played 2 years; First year he won the Scudetto with Milan and was then on a streak of eight straight league wins in three different countries and with five different clubs…Second year was the first year he did not win the league in 9 years! But still scored 28 goals in 32 games a new personal record which also helped him being the Top scorer of the league with 4 goals more than Diego Milito on second place.
What is true is that the game that you mention (where he only ran 400m more than Valdez) in the champions league against Inter he did play very bad, maybe due to just coming of injury. It is widely known that he got along very bad with Pep Guardiola but that is not the fact with any other coach. It's all newspaper rumors so that the press has a "bad boy" which is always more interesting and sells more papers. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a strong personality and wants to be the star, no doubt, but that his work ethic and performance is not good is as you can see from his numbers completely wrong. The numbers speak for themselves. That you on a personal level think that he will not perform in the French League is up to you, and I'm sure history will prove you dead wrong.
PSG will start winning big games and big trophies soon and Zlatan will be a big part of that. I agree, however, that his work rate is far from being ideal, especially if he is heading to France!
If Ibrahimovic isn't a very good player, would ANY CLUB ever sign him? And to disregard his personal achievements is, to my mind, not only misplaced but also unduly cruel. We should stop expecting every player to be like a Messi or Drogba or Gomez or others. If he wasn't that good, nonody would ever hear of him. Period. Respect the man!
Please Pedro Pinto,
I always like wathing you on CNN sports, but now really, where have you been for all these years if you claim Ibrahimovic work rate to be bad in all these clubs? Do you only watch kick and run games from the past in england as reference, or do you only feel you have to downtalk Ibra because you are from Portugal, country of Ronaldo?
Sir, I completely agree with you. Money cant buy you Trophies. Zlatan is past his 30 and his work ethic as far as helping his team mates defensively is concerned has been indeed, not his forte. Perhaps PSG should have gone in for Sergio Aguero or David Villa.
Shame this seems to be turning into a debate over the merits or otherwise of Ibra as I think the real question is whether a club like PSG, which plays in one of Europe's second tier leagues, can become a so-called "Big Club" in global terms. It's been proven that heavy investment in a club playing in one of the big-four leagues of European football, namely Chelsea, Man City, Real and Barca, can make or maintain your big club status worldwide, but it will be interesting to see whether a well financed club can join the elite without the cache of coming from La Liga, BPL, Serie A, or the Bundesliga which have a je ne sais quoi that, ironically, le Championnat lacks.
'Remember this is a player who once ran only 400 meters more than goalkeeper Victor Valdes during a Champions League game between Barcelona and Inter back in 2010. '
Pedro, not always you can measure a striker's value based on how many miles he runs on the pitch. Ibracadabra has best answer for you, this is what he said when Pep wanted him to run around and play Barca football...
"You bought a Ferrari but drive it like a Fiat." – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
At least the man knows what he is good at and how he should play to preserve his star power :)
It's really a pity that Zlatan has to suffer this much from his personality when speaking merely about football. Zlatan is already more than a millionaire so he is not in Paris for the money. Zlatan is (even in Sweden) an extremly underestimated player and yet another time the journalists (apparently even the ones in USA who ought to keep their focus on something you actually know, that is, american soccer or whatever it is called) are writing bad stuff about Zlatan.
I understand that the person who put his signature on this article has to have an opinion(or simply has been copying the "anti-zlatan" british tabloids) but please leave this to the people who understand the EUROPEAN soccer. Zlatan will fight for his new club, i assure you, he has actually won the domestic league every year since he moved abroad, this until the last season with "Milanovic".
Respect to the man but still He is Underperfoming for sure.10 chances 1 goal.Skillful but comparing him to Messi ,Ronaldo Etoo Drogba Torres Villa who i think are of same qualities he is last.if i have near 50 million usd to spend i would not sign Ibra.Dont put your money on this guy.
This fashion is about to fail soon and go out of our world.
So, Pedro, the way to measure work rate is now by simply measuring the length of witch he ran during a game? Cmon' man.
Sure, that game was far from his best, but please, do not criticize his work ethic, there's nothing wrong with that.
Of course he can't run as much as a winger, the man weighs around 100 kg. Obviously he will tire out faster than the others if he run's around like them. And, just as Greg pointed out, having him run around like Chicarito in Man Utd or like Henry did in his day and so on is just a waste of talent. He is at his very best when he's got the ball at his feet, a defender or two in front of him and teammates running lanes.
His numbers also speak for themselves. And as for his teams...well...powerhouses like Milan, Inter and Barcelona usually do buy good players that benefits the team. Except for Barcelona, where he was a star for the first half of that season, has he not been the star of those teams? Has he not been the biggest reason for their succes?
But enough about him. Measuring work rate through meters is a bad way of doing it.
It is really funny to hear American talking about football (soccer) and making some comparisons with Baseball. Pedro you should just try to re-read what you wrote, and maybe you will understand why we are laughing.. Ibrahimovic is a winner and a winner is someone which know all the sacrifices to do.. We don't ask him to run a marathon man, but to goal, and if he has to walk 100 meters for that we don't really care.. Moreover, is a great scorer, those guys know how to score, they are not lateral, they don't need to run a lot.
About PSG, I would like to insist about the fact that PSG Strategy is far from Man City. Having Leonardo and Jean Claude Blanc is the best things and most important guys for the club. All the plan is clear. Invest in a weak league to secure a CL place every year.
Last year, PSG lost 6 or 7 players and bought 8 or 10 for an average of 11m. Nothing compare with City. This year, 2 big stars 1 talented and one promising players. 4 players as expected.
PSG is investing in Serie A only because this market is suffering massively and plenty of club with a,awing players are struggling. This is the best value for money and PSG is using it. Very simple.
About Ibra, this is the first time where PSG is not consistent with their own policy. It looks like PSG has been forced to buy Ibra to get Thiago Motta. Also, do not forget the relation between Leonardo and Berlusconi and the business between AL Khelaifi and Berlusconi....Ibra to PSG please Ac Milan for saving wages and PSG to get a big name...
Ibra will try to be the pichichi of French L1, to show that is a big star able to have success in any league...Also, PSG has Carlo Ancelotti who is a strong asset.
Overall all this business is cleverly processed. PSG will try to be qualify for the last 16 which will be a success. Do not forget that the experience of this team in Europe is very weak
To Pedro Pinto,
I actually love reading ur articles, but this one really missed the Point!! first ou criticise his Work rate and then compare him to a goalkeeper in terms of Meters he ran. Who cares... Do u think its when u run 15km in a game that that guarantees u a win? Wake up. its not about chasing the ball , its about scoring goals...!! thats the aim and it will always be that. Nobody will ask u in 10 yrs , how many km did Ibrahimovic run...naw ::THE QUESTION WILL BE WHO WON? and who delivered.. it shows that u arent well versed in Football ( Sorry Soccer) :-)) or whats its all about. Pls do freshen and be uptodate when writing or submitting ur Articles.... if U ever try this using this viewpoint in a conversation in the Whole of Europe or south America or wherever u may be not in the States) U would get ejected. ignored BIGTIME. As a leading goalscorer in Spain italy etc and u are complaining . Men wake up. It might be possible that the french league isnt on the same level as of the spanisch, german, italian or englisch see(IFHHS) but its still better to go there than sour in the US league like others do..
Whats with the dash for the Cash... What would u do...? lets face it u have 20 yrs or less to make it in SOccer... the last 3 yrs are ur cash days.. U could do it like Raul play in germany and then go the Middle east , or like others to the Far East and others South Am. or even Stay in Europe. Respect his choice , dont fuss about the money cos he is worth every Damn Dime. What would u do if Aljazeera, BBC offered u a Job worth 10million???? Dont tell me u would still be writing this Articles or even be reading this.!!
To all those having a go at Pedro for questioning Ibrahimovic's work rate, well I for one think Pedro is right. Look when Ibra is on the ball he is a genius, I don't think anyone would argue with that, but his work rate is poor. Pedro has given a fine example of Ibra's poor work rate, its not an one off occurance of his poor work rate, it happens quite often. Even in the Euros, he didn't run around to put pressure on opposition players.
@Greg you have pointed out that if Ibra upped his work rate, it would be a waste of his talents. How so? Just because he ups his work rate doesn't mean his talent all of sudden evaporates. Ibra would be the complete player if he worked harder off the ball, because he is fantastic when on the ball.
Also to people pointing out Ibra's trophy record, ya well what does that to with how poor Ibra's work rate.
On PSG, they look like a rising a force, but they are a couple of seasons away from challenging for the Champions League despite their vast amounts of cash. I for one hope this over spending by rich clubs will end soon, when FFP rules kick in not because I have a problem with teams spending too much money, but because it keeps on inflating the transfer market
Now they will buy Kaka who will agree to join PSG with these players ans PSG will became real treat out there.
Kaka Pastore Lavezzi and Ibra is even with Real and Barca offense
Next big star Kaka. AS confirm that Kaka agree to join PSG after Ibra and Silva go there. Big stars awlays go with other stars.
I would have liked to see Didier Drogba come to PSG instead. Style, class, work ethic and BIG TIME PLAYER. One can only imagine how many goals he would have scored in the Ligue 1.
You may need to check datas before writing. French Ligue 1 does not have a lower average attendance than United States'MLS.
In 2011, average per-game attendance for the MLS hit an all-time high at 17,870, compared to 16,675 the previous season.
Just check on Google and you will find lots of article about that (it takes 0,31 secondes for 7 160 000 results).
According to the French Ligue de Football Professionnel:
– 2011/2012 average per-game :18869
– 2010/2011 average per game: 19742
You can on check their official website http://www.lfp.fr
this artical is a joke.. pedro you should once in your life see ibrahimovic play live. you would understand how powerfull and dominant he is..
and if you know any thing about football you should know that a striker never runs as much as the rest of team... this is also the biggest difference btw european sports and USA, we trie to use our brain more when you always counting statistics and whearing helmets..
I have coached several clubs, teams and nations. i have more football experience than you will ever have. i have played and coached , you only write about what i do for a living.
A humble request from me to CNN. where do you find such writers? and how do you let them write this blasphemy?
pedro pinto!!, vocé viado!!!
But about what you speak??!!! France was always a big nation of the football, and furthermore it always had very big clubs as Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux or still Saint-Etienne, whom(that) is that you know about the football pedro?? Ronaldinho played the PSG, RAI(RAY,SPOKE) also, and Léonardo and height of the others else! It has been hardly 10 years since you know the football in used(wore out) and you allow to speak like that about a big country of the football mondia!!
as for ur comments regarding zlatan, u forgot to mention he was the top scorer in italy the last 2 years and they did not buy him for his endurance talents...well thats another issue...but then again, money speaks in the rest of the world, so why not the sports world? not meaning it's to my liking...
Pedro, why are you always so skeptical ?
It seems like you enjoying to be seen as a prophet.
But no matter what kind of journalist you are, optimism is much more appreciated by CNN readers than being skeptical.
Why would Pedro Pinto make such a dumb comment about Ibrahimovic's work ethic considering the player's accomplishments over the past 7-8 years.I mean,this is the same guy who proclamed not so long ago that the EPL was falling so far behind the other leagues,and guess which team won the Champions League.I think he should stick to kissing his colleague Alex Thomas on tv.
Wow, to compare French Ligue 1 and the UAE championship is a bit of a stretch...
O.M.G. then how about AC.MILAN???
No, i don't think this will work for them. They want to buy trophies, they will be like Manchester City and Chelsea who can only dominate in the domestic football. Welcome to the domestic football PSG !!!!!
I find it very offensive and disrespectful to compare "Ligue 1" to leagues akin to that of the "MLS", no disrespect to the "MLS" whatsoever. In addition, "Ligue 1" has always been a source of football gems: Didier Drogba, Essien, Sagna, Ginola, Blanc, Deschamps, Nasri, Ribery, Ronaldinho, Benzema, Platini, Zidane, Yaya Toure, Abidal, Keita, and recently Eden Hazard. However, I acknoledge that "Ligue 1" is not up there with BPL. La Liga, Bundesliga, and Seria A, but at the same time it is not too far behind, and its level of play increases year in and year out. Additionally, PSG's global exposure on to the global scene will only attract more light upon "Le Championat" and step by step it will attain the grandure of the likes of the Seria A and co.
Moreover, PSG now have the players to at least be seen as genuine outsider or darkhorse for the Champions League. Furthermore, concerning Ibra, he is a dedicated footballer as well as a hard working individual, despite some stats which may prove otherwise, notably the single stat which Pedro mentioned in his article. Zlatan's value is unquestionable, at every club that he has played in he has won at least one title. Additionally, lets not forget he is a striker, not a holding midfielder looking to retrieve every lost ball or defend when the opposition is attacking, therefore his work-rate is insignificant due to the fact that his job is to put the ball in the back of the net: something that he's incredibly gifted at doing.
ps: If the league was that low, like the article suggests, players of the calibre of: Thiago Silva, Ibra, Lavezzi, Pastore, and Motta, would have never made the move to PSG, even with a more than bettered pay package.
In the good old days they used to say "Rome was not built in a day". Carlo Ancelotti is an experienced guy and will build a winning combination as he did in other places.
Patience is vital. Teams like Chelsea and Manchester City went through teething problems even with a galaxy of proven international stars in their ranks. PSG will surely hit the top. One needs to wait and watch.
Italy is producing top quality football managers. Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini, Roberto Di Matteo, Ranieri, Zola, Fabio Capello, Marcelo Lippi, Trapattoni, Prandella and so many of them.
we wait and see.
money rules the game.remember yesterday it was real and the others .lets give the new comers a chance
It's really sad to read about an underperforming Ibra from someone who clearly didn't watch a game this star played. This is a mantra previously repeated mainly by british football fans and journalists. Ibra is without doubt one of footballs greatest supertalents, making his best season ever at the age of 30. If you would have followed italian reporting about Serie A you would have noticed how dominant Ibrahimovic was in that fine league all the years he played there.
About him underperforming. When he arrived at Milan after Barcelona, his test results blew all previous records. His physique is impressive by any comparision and looking at him almost fainting of fatigue after a game makes you understand how tough it must be to be a 100 kilo top forward. You cannot compare him to a forward of normal height and weight. Why would he run around chasing the ball when he needs his strength with the ball at his feet?
Ibra is a winner and will not rest until he won the French league as well. Anything else is impossible for him.
Oooo mr pinto u might not like ibra but I certainly prefer him to a player who guns for the oscars by diving half of the time from Portugal
zlatan is a flop...
This story is probably the worst ive seen this suemmr of transfer gossip lunacy. It simply is as plausible as Ibrama going to SouthendA) spurs have one of the strictest wage structures in the prem & their maximum is relatively low which kills this move totally considering Ibrama is one of the best paid players in the lower tax regime of Spain.B) Why on earth would Barca sell Ibrama for only 25m one year after giving away Eto plus c40m for the Swede?!
Great article Pinto,
However those who think that PSG will win anything on the international stage are truly out of whack. This team comes from a league that has lower attendances than MLS!!! Really ? Second of all when you are recruiting players at such a high velocity that they will win right away. One major problem Ancelotti is going to have is controlling the egos. We know all to well that Ibrahimovic has a ridiculous ego which is uncontrollable and he isn't as great of a player as many think. Yes he won plenty of titles yet he never won the golden ball nor will he ever especially now that he's playing in a weak league. Ibrahimovic has shows us that he cannot handle big leagues (Spanish League) and that he only does well is weaker ones such as Serie A and now League 1. Italian football has become weak because of how poor the country has become and no one wants to invest. PSG are going to be the only team in France capable of winning everything but the fact that they think they can win everything will cause them to stutter and fail just like Malaga ( Now they have to sell their best players and pay millions in wages.) PSG has ruined football as a whole with their reckless spending on Lavezzi, Silva, Ibra, and now Lucas Moura (Who was favored for United and Inter, seriously kid you chose PSG over historical clubs ?) In my opinion these players will soon realize that League 1 is weak and will ask to leave in two years time. As they have always said you can buy talent but you cant buy class. Teams such as United, Barcelona, Milan, Inter, Madrid have had for decades.
I've never seen a nose like that ever apart from on Gonzo
Hi,i was a striker,part time professional,always scoring goals however i did not have the stamina to chase fullbacks taking off down the line or racing back to help the goalkeeper keep a corner out.some of my team mates used to mutter about my lack of willingness to run back and offer my services as a defender however they never complained when i repeatedly won the game with the goals I scored .There are horses for courses and suffering a players lack of interest in wasting his energy to save it for the business part of the game is something that critics find hard to come to terms with.There are players who have the athleticism to run all day and compete and challenge with the best of them but could not score a goal even at training.The players who can manage both jobs are few and far between and are revered by the games fans including me.
Paris saint germain is the most valuable club in French league.They have enough transfer budget.This season they bought Zlatan, Silva from Milan, Lavezzi from Napoili,All these are so much big budget project.For this season it seems that Zlatan is the main part of this team.He scores frequently for this club.Silva is doing well his defense work.Moreover the team have many players to dominate the matches like Pastore,Menez,Nene.
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