PSG needs European success to be truly convincing

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 26, 2014 at 8:55 am •  Published: May 26, 2014
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PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain could offer new recruit David Luiz something Chelsea couldn't: the near certainty of being a league winner next season.

Because, more than ever, PSG is reducing France's Ligue 1 to a no-contest. While the English Premier League and Spain's La Liga were consistently nail-biting, decided only in the last round of matches, PSG made Ligue 1 feel over before Christmas. Its total of 89 points was a record. It topped the league from the 10th round to the last in winning its second consecutive title.

Already, next season is shaping up as the same again. As the biggest fish in the small pond of French domestic football, PSG is going to have to succeed in Europe to really prove itself.

Even limited by UEFA's Financial Fair Play sanctions, PSG's cash-rich Qatari owners can still comfortably outspend every Ligue 1 team with the exception, perhaps, of Monaco, bankrolled by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev.

Luiz is set to become PSG's fifth signing of €40 million or more. The versatile, attack-minded defender will only strengthen what already this season was again the league's stingiest defense, conceding just 23 goals. Playing alongside Brazil teammate Thiago Silva, and because they'll be coming off the World Cup together, Luiz should slot smoothly into PSG's backline.

The question is not whether PSG's domestic dominance can last, but rather if it can break Lyon's record of seven straight league titles from 2002-2008.

For the third consecutive season, PSG again had the most prolific attack, scoring 84 goals— 26 of them from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, again the league's top scorer.

"Ligue 1 is continuing to grow with Monaco, Lyon, Marseille. We're raising the level," Ibrahimovic said.

Really? That can be argued both ways. While PSG's acquisition of global stars like Ibrahimovic has burnished the Ligue 1 brand, the ease with which he scores, the gulf in class between him and players from other clubs, reflects an unbalanced, top-heavy league with PSG out of reach for French opponents.

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