For years French champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) have been the dominant side in European soccer with a slew of world-class players including some of the best players in the world at their disposal.
The team has captivated global fans with its trickery and skill which has resulted in it winning three consecutive titles in the Ligue 1 and the French Cup. This season also sees it taking on another iconic star — Spanish soccer superstar Lionel Messi from Barcelona — for the chance to win the UEFA Champions League.
The return of the competition to the PSG after a two-year absence, with Messi his team making a formidable opponent for the team returning to European football’s most important stage.
“We hope to win,” said Messi during a chat at the Le Stade de France in Paris. “Now it’s a big match, especially after the loss to Manchester United in the Champions League group stage last season.”
Speaking to “and ça change,” CNN’s Sexta held a moment of silence at the stadium before the kick-off in honor of the victims of last week’s terrorist attacks.
This interview is a part of the “La Vuelta a Espana de Cádiz,” a 10-day international sports reporting tour produced by Onda Cero — which was presented at the European Newspaper Congress in Madrid earlier this month.
Frenchmen Romain Alessandrini and Lassana Diarra are the two players who will lead the side, while Brazilian midfielder Neymar has established himself as the world’s most expensive player by signing a record-breaking deal with PSG.
PSG is the favorite to win the tournament, according to 100 percent of the Italian bookmaker Saxton.com and is a strong favorite to win the league in France this season.
“We [Scudetto] played good in the Champions League last season, but you can’t ignore the fact we are not defending the Champions League,” said Alessandrini. “I know it’s hard for us, but we must forget the difficulties we had to last year. We just have to come out [and play our best].”
“It’s going to be a tough match and we know how great [Messi] is,” said Diarra. “That is why we don’t want to make a mistake against the best player in the world. We will not give him a gift.”
The game will be Messi’s first match in France and not Barcelona since being substituted during a game against Real Madrid in 2015 and misses out due to his injury.