PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti is playing down expectations ahead of Tuesday's Champions League opener against Dynamo Kiev, despite a massive outlay on new players having thrust the ambitious club firmly into the spotlight.
PSG's bid to become a European power has caught the headlines after a spending spree of nearly €160 million to recruit Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Thiago Silva from Serie A among other signings.
But Ancelotti, who won the Champions League with AC Milan as both a player and a coach, wants to take the pressure off his expensive squad.
"I don't think we can say today that PSG is the favorite. I think we can say that PSG has a lot of ambition and wants to do well in the biggest competition in Europe," Ancelotti said Monday at a news conference. "We have players with experience and we have a coach who has a lot of experience. It's difficult to say what PSG can do in the Champions League. We will learn match by match."
After beginning the season with three straight draws, PSG has won its last two matches, including a 2-0 win against Toulouse on Friday in which Ibrahimovic scored his fifth goal of the season.
The imposing Sweden striker has yet to win the Champions League in a career in which he has also played for Inter Milan, Ajax and Barcelona.
"My feelings haven't changed. I want to win it because every trophy I play in I want to win," Ibrahimovic said. "A lot of people spoke about the club this summer because of the transfers. We have a very solid team that can go far."
Ibrahimovic played down his sudden departure from Milan despite finishing as Serie A's top scorer last season.
"Milan's a big club, I'm just another player who came and went," he said.
With Ibrahimovic leading the attack, PSG will be expected to win a Group A that also features Porto and Dinamo Zagreb. The Croatian side hosts Porto on Tuesday.
Silva is expected to make his long-awaited debut at center back and will likely play alongside countryman Alex, after France center half Mamadou Sakho was ruled out with a thigh injury.
"I'm very disappointed not to play tomorrow," Sakho said. "It meant so much to me, but I felt a small pain in my thigh the last time I played and, along with the medical staff, we decided not to take any risks."
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