Fiercely ambitious having gained a place back at Europe's top table, Paris Saint-Germain FC have so far lived up to expectations in the French capital. Spearheaded by marquee summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimović and led by two-time European Cup winner Carlo Ancelotti, PSG have looked perfectly at home and head for the UEFA Champions League round of 16 in buoyant mood.
Story so far
PSG's return to the group stage after an eight-year absence has been an unmitigated success. They have racked up five wins out of six and scored 14 goals – a tally bettered only by Real Madrid CF, FC Bayern München and Chelsea FC – to clinch top spot in Group A at a canter.
Ancelotti's charges were imperious at home, scoring four times against FC Dynamo Kyiv and GNK Dinamo Zagreb, before securing the win they needed against FC Porto to beat the Portuguese side to first place. The highlight was provided by Ibrahimović, whose virtuoso performance against Dinamo Zagreb – in which he expertly set up all four goals – had the Parc des Princes in raptures. The narrow loss at Porto on matchday two has been the only blemish.
It had been a long wait for the PSG supporters and there was a degree of apprehension in the air before kick-off on matchday one. How would the Ligue 1 side cope in the UEFA Champions League after almost a decade away? Any doubts swiftly dissipated, however, the moment Ibrahimović stepped up and calmly converted a 19th-minute penalty to get the campaign up and running. Five victories and 13 goals later, nobody was questioning the Parisians' place among Europe's elite.
Ancelotti was keen to sign players with European experience in the summer and in Ibrahimović he appears to have captured the perfect guide for his relatively young side. Not only has the 31-year-old inspired those around him with his obvious natural talent and coolness in front of goal, he has also excelled as a link player, often dropping into midfield to offer the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Jérémy Ménez the opportunity to run in behind. That he contributed two goals and five assists – more than any other player in the competition – provides evidence of Ibrahimović's all-round contribution.
Lining up alongside the likes of Thiago Silva, Ibrahimović and Lavezzi in a UEFA Champions League game at the age of 17 would be a daunting prospect for most, but Adrien Rabiot looked totally at ease on his competition debut against Dinamo Zagreb. Strong in the challenge and composed on the ball, the teenage midfielder has forced his way in to Ancelotti's plans this season and showed the Italian he is most definitely one for the future with a mature, dynamic display on matchday four.
Ibrahimović's matchday one goal against Dynamo Kyiv made him the first player to score for six different clubs in the UEFA Champions League: AFC Ajax, Juventus, FC Internazionale Milano, FC Barcelona, AC Milan and PSG.
"To win the group and finish with 15 points is a superb performance. It shows that we have the quality you need to do well in this competition."
PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu reflects on a job well done.
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