With European club football once again appearing on the horizon, the Group stage draw for the Champions League is always one of the most anticipated events at the start of each season and this year’s draw has once again generated a high level of drama.
Drama that comes in the form of Manchester City and PSG being paired together in Group A and with these two clubs still looking to earn a first ever success in the competition, there is every chance they could also meet in the final next May.
That of course is a long way in the future and a lot of Football will be played between now and then. However, with the pedigree of both clubs, there is every chance that their Road to Saint Petersburg will be a rather lengthy one.
Of course, there are a number of subplots that have already been crafted before the two teams square off on September 28th and the most pertinent of those, will surely be the fact that PSG will be looking for a level of revenge.
Revenge they will hope to dish out after being beaten in last season’s Semi-final and after suffering a 4-1 aggregate defeat to City, their own hopes of finally conquering Europe were put on hold for at least another season.
Then again, the same hopes are still desired by City themselves and after suffering the anguish of a Champions League final defeat last season, the aim is for Pep Guardiola to go one better this time around.
The defeat to Chelsea was one that can be considered something of a relative upset and for those who were using an odds tracker before kick-off in Porto, they would have noticed that the blue half of Manchester were favourites going into the game.
As we know by now, the favourites do not always win and with Kai Havertz slotting home for Chelsea, it was the West London outfit who managed to snare their second Champions League title in the last 10 years.
While although Pep Guardiola is looking to go one better with his City charges, there is a sense that this could be his second to last opportunity at winning the competition with his current employers – that is if the reports are to be believed.
In a recent interview, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager suggested that the end of the 2023 season would be the time to take another career sabbatical and more importantly call time on his Etihad tenure.
If this does prove to be the case, the clock is certainly ticking and that is why this campaign and the next are going to be of extra importance to a team that won last season’s Premier League title at a canter,
Then again, it will not be a canter in either of the clashes with PSG and when you consider the transfer business that they have done over the course of the summer, they are not here to simply make up the Champions League numbers.
While when it comes to numbers, the salary that is being paid to Lionel Messi since his arrival will be worth every penny – that is if the mercurial Argentine can lead his new employers to continental success at the end of the season.
With his shock departure from the Camp Nou taking place over the course of the off-season, there were only ever going to be a handful of clubs that could genuinely land his signature and although there was reported interest from City themselves, it was PSG who won the race in the end.
Whether it was a genuine race or not can be argued, but the Qatari owners who bankroll this Parisian project were never in the mood to be beaten and when you consider the other names that have joined Messi this summer, they have done incredibly good business.
With the talented trio of Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Gigi Wijnaldum all joining Messi in making a switch to the Parc des Princes, you can only be impressed with the signings that have been made.
Of course, what is even more impressive is the fact that not a single penny was paid in transfer fees for any of the four players mentioned and although they may be able to command an eye-watering sum in collective salaries, their talents certainly deserve such renumeration.
Talents that will likely win this season’s edition of Ligue 1 with minimal fuss and although that trinket will not be unwelcomed, that will surely be the bare minimum that manager Mauricio Pochettino has to deliver.
Which means something will have to give at some point between City and PSG and although you cannot win the Champions League before Christmas, the two meetings between the pair in 2021 will offer an insight into just who may win the 2022 tournament outright.