PSG moved on from Lionel Messi and Neymar to finally build a balanced team - so have they finally cracked the Champions League code?


This is it, the start of the competition that unites the footballing world in ridicule towards Paris Saint-Germain. Jamie Carragher laughed on live TV when they were knocked out of last season's competition. Marca dubbed Bayern Munich simply "too good" for PSG. L’Equipe, PSG’s most controversially ardent press outlet, said "defeat is a culture"at the club.

So begins another chance to pre-write those headlines, practice the chuckles, and prepare the thought pieces. This season, though, there is something vaguely interesting brewing in Paris. PSG are not entirely run by superstars or massive media interests anymore - there's a shred of independence here, now. Their manager is notorious for being, well, a bit mean. They made 10 signings this summer, three were free agents, and all but one were under 27. This is a massive departure from the status quo.

As with any year - with this iteration of immensely talented players - PSG should do enough to win Ligue 1. They tried everything to lose it last season, but the form of Kylian Mbappe, now friends with the hierarchy again, rescued them.

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But the Champions League is the real test. It is perhaps the curse of playing in a comparably less competitive league that success shall be judged from elsewhere. PSG have no real challengers at home; eyes must turn abroad instead. And so they will again, with a retooled squad hoping to go where — or, more accurately, further than — any PSG side has been before.