Thursday, November 10, 2016

Paris Saint-Germain Greatest All-Time Team

Winning the League in 2014

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Olympique de MarseilleParis Saint-Germain
Olympique LyonnaisAS MonacoNantes
Saint-ÉtienneGirondins de BordeauxLille OSC
South France
Players born in the Overeseas Department and former French Colonies
French Black Players 
French Algerian
French Players Capped by Other National Teams
France at USA 1994
Parisian nation team in World Cup 2018

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

The club was formed in 1970 by the merger of Paris FC and Stade Saint-Germain.  Having won 40 titles in its history, PSG is the most successful club in French football. The Parisian side is also one of only two French clubs to win a European title. Domestically, PSG have won six Ligue 1 titles, a record ten Coupes de France, a record six Coupes de la Ligue, six Trophées des Champions and one Ligue 2 title. In international club football, Paris have won one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and one UEFA Intertoto Cup.

The arrival of Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Oryx Qatar Sports Investments (QSi) in 2011 made dramatic chances for the club.   The takeover made Paris Saint-Germain the richest club in France and one of the wealthiest in the world.  Before their arrival, PSG only won 2 league titles.  Since then, they had won 7 more at the time of writing.
Cup Winners' Cup 1995-1996

GK: Joel Bats (France)
Joel Bats earned 50 caps for France between 1983 and 1989.  He was the starting keeper for France during its Euro 1984 winning campaign at home, and then, the World Cup Finals in 1986, where he saved penalties against both Socrates and Zico in the shootout victory over Brazil in the quarterfinal.  He played first with Sochaux. He later played with Auxerre and Paris St.Germain.  He spent 7 seasons in Paris.
Joel Bats

GK: Bernard Lama (France)
Lama left Guiana in 1981 to come to Franceto become a professional footballer.  He started with Lille, but also played in Brest and Metz.  In 1992, he joined PSG, where he found stardom.  He won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1996.  After a brief career with West Ham and Rennes, he retired.  Capped 44 times.  He was mainly a backup throughout his NT career.  He was on the team that won the WC in 1998.

GK: Salvatore Sirigu (Italy)
Having begun his career with Palermo, he moved to PSG in 2011. Twice voted the Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year, his honours at the club include four consecutive league titles, and all four domestic competitions in both the 2014–15 and 2015–16 seasons. Since 2010 Sirigu has played for Italy, and was selected for major tournaments such as Euro 2012, 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016, as well as the 2013 Confederations Cup.

DM/RB: Laurent Fournier (France)
Laurent Fournier started at Lyon in 1980.  His career took him to St.Etienne, Marseille, Paris Saint Germain, Bordeaux and Bastia.  His longest career was with PSG, where he played on two different stints. He was a part of the team that lost the Champions' league Final in 1991 with Marseille.  In 1996, he won the Cup Winners' Cup with Paris Saint Germain.  He was capped 4 times by France all in 1996.
Laurent Fournier
CB: Ricardo Gomez (Brazil)
Ricardo Gomez started his career with Fluminense at home before joining Benfica in 1988.  He would then join Paris St.Germaine in 1991.  He went to play in Italia 1990, where Brazil was known for their defensive tactics.  In 1994, he was selected as the captain for the 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA.  However, he was injured at the last minute and did not attend the World Cuo Finals.

CB: Thiago Silva (Brazil)
Thiago Silva  became the most expensive defender in history when he moved from Milan to Paris St. Germain.  Before moving to play in Europe, he played for Juventude and Fluminense in Brazil. He was a key player as Fluminense to the Final of Copa Libertadores in 2008.  For the national team, he was the captain of Brazil ill-fated team in World Cup 2014, but did not play against Germany in the semifinal. He also went to the World Cup Finals in both 2010 and 2018
Thiago Silva
CB: Jean-Marc Pilorget (France)
Jean-Marc Pilorget was born Paris, where he played mainly for his hometown Paris St Germain between 1975 and 1989, except for loan seasons with Cannes and a season at the end of his career with Guingamp and Saint-Raphaël.  He is the all-time leader in appearance for Paris Saint-Germain, with 370 matches. He also won the league title with his club in 1986.  

CB: Alain Roche (France)
In his club career, Alain Roche played for Bordeaux, Marseille, Auxerre, Paris SG and Valencia. His most productive years were spent at Paris St Germaine. He played for them between 1992 and 1998, where he notably won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1996. For France, he played 25 times between 1988 and 1996. He went to European Championship of 1996 in England.  He was a part of the team that lost to Bulgaria in the ill-fated World Cup Qualifiers in 1993.
Alain Roche
CB: Mario Yepes  (Colombia)
Mario Yepes played 102 matches for the Colombia.  He was a member the team that won the Copa America in 2001. He captained Colombia at the World Cup Finals in 2014, where they reached the quarterfinal.  As for his club career, he played in Colombia, Argentina, France and Italy.  He was known as one of the best defender playing in France when he played with Paris St.Germain. 

LB: Gabriel Heinze (Argentina)
Nicknamed Gringo, Gabriel Heinze made a name for himself at Paris Saint-Germain, moving in 2004 to Manchester United and subsequently to Real Madrid, winning four trophies with the latter two clubs. He started and finished his 18-year professional career with Newell's Old Boys. Heinze played 72 times with Argentina between 2003 and 2010, representing the nation at two World Cups (2006 and 2010) and as many Copa América tournaments.
Gabriel Heinze
DM: Paul Le Guen (France)
During his playing career, Le Guen played at Stade Brest for six years, Nantes Atlantique for two years, before leaving Brittany for Paris St. Germain where he played for seven years (with 478 appearances and a Cup Winners' Cup medal in 1996).  At international level he played 17 times for France due to injuries and he was part of the team which lost out on a trip to the World Cup in 1994.

CM/DM: Dominique Bathenay (France)
 Dominique Bathenay played for AS Saint-Étienne from 1973 to 1978, and for Paris Saint-Germain from 1978 to 1985. He is the longest serving captain for the club.  He is also elected to its Hall of Fame. At the end of his career, he played for FC Sète 34.  He was a member of the French squad that competed at the 1978 FIFA World Cup. He obtained a total number of twenty international caps for the France national football team, scoring four goals, in the years 1975-1982.
Dominique Bathenay
CM/DM: Luis Fernandez (France)
Born in Spain, Luis Fernandez moved to France when he was 4 years old. He started at PSG, where he played most of his career. He also played for Racing Club and Cannes.  At the international level, he was capped 60 times.  He was a star midfielder during France's run at Euro 1984.  He was a member of the great French midfield known as the "magic square" playing alongside with Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse and Michel Platini.

RW: Dominique Rocheteau (France)
Dominique Rocheteau was a member of the Saint Etienne of the late 1970's, where they reached the 1976 European Cup Final playing against Bayern Munich.  He moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1980 with whom he won one Division 1 title and two Coupes de France.  He also played for Toulouse FC.  For France, he had 49 caps. He was a member of the Golden Generation that won the European Championship in 1984 and playing in the World Cup Finals in 1978, 1982 and 1986.  
Dominique Rocheteau 
LW: David Ginola (France)
For the national team, David Ginola was blamed for the goal against Bulgaria that eliminated France for the 1994 WC qualification.  He moved to England shortly afterward.  Ginola became a big star at the English Preimer League in the late 1990's.  In England, he played for Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspurs, Aston Villa and Everton.  He won both PFA and FWA Player of the Year in 1998-1999.

AM: Rai (Brazil)
Rai was noted playing for São Paulo and Paris Saint-Germain, winning 10 major titles with the two teams combined and nearing the 100-goal mark. He won two Libertadores Cup 1992 and 1993, and the Cup Winners' Cup. He is the younger brother of Brazilian footballer Sócrates.  At the international level, he was capped 45 times.  He was the captain of the National Team at USA 1994, but he was used mainly as a substitute at the latter stage of the Finals.  Dunga became the captain.
AM: Valdo (Brazil)
Valdo made his professional debuts with Grêmio Football Porto-Alegrense, with which he won four consecutive Rio Grande do Sul Leagues. In the summer of 1988, he signed with S.L. Benfica of Portugal, alongside compatriot Ricardo Gomes. Both Valdo and Gomes left for Paris Saint-Germain F.C. in the 1991.  After he left PSG in 1995, he returned to Benfica and also played in Japan.  Capped 45 times. He went to Mexico 1986, but did not play.  He played in Italia 1990.

AM/LM: Ronaldinho (Brazil)
From 1999 to 2013, Ronaldinho played 97 times for Brazil. He was a member of the "Three R's" with Rivaldo and Ronaldo that helped Brazil winning the World Cup in 2002.  At the club level, he started his career with Gemio before moving to Europe. He played with Paris St Germaine and Barcelona before his form started to drop. He formed the REM line with Etoo and Messi before fighting among them destroyed the team.  In 2013, he won the Copa Libertadores with Atlético Mineiro.

AM: Safet Sušić (Bosnia and Herzegovina
He was one of the greatest Yugoslavian players.  He played for FK Sarajevo, Paris Saint-Germain and Red Star Saint-Ouen and internationally for Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was voted Paris Saint-Germain's best player of all time and the best foreign player of Ligue 1 of all time by France Football.  He represented the nation at the 1982 and 1990 World Cups, and at Euro 1984. 

AM/FW: Mustapha Dahleb (Algeria)
Dahleb held the record for all-time leading scorer for Paris Saint-Germain in the French first division with 85 goals before being surpassed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  Dahleb is the club's third all-time goalscorer in all competitions, with 98 goals.  Dahleb played with the Algerian national team in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, where Algeria beat West Germany 2-1 in the first round.

AM/FWGeorge Weah (Liberia) 
In terms of individual awards, no African player wins more awards than George Weah.  He was was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or in 1995.  He won African Footballer of the Year: 1989, 1994, 1995.  He was voted African Player of the Century in 1996.  He had great careers with AC Milan where he won two Serie A titles. He also played for Monaco, PSG, Chelsea, etc. In 2017, Weah was elected as the President of Liberia.
George Weah
ST: Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)
With Napoli, Cavani was the Serie A top scorer in the 2012-2013 season.  He moved to Paris St Germain in 2013, where the club dominated French football.  At the time of writing, he is the club's all-time leading scorer. For Uruguay, he earned over 100 caps starting in 2008. He helped Uruguay to reach the semifinal in the 2010 World Cup Finals and won the Copa America in 2011.He also played in 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals.

ST: Pedro Pauleta (Portugal)
Pedro Pauleta never played in the Primeira Liga, having spent most of his career in Spain and France. He had his most successful spell at Paris Saint-Germain, where he was 3 times the top goalscorer in Ligue 1, he was also voted twice as the division's player of the season. Pauleta also scored 47 goals in 88 matches for Portugal, a national record at the time of his retirement. He played for his country in two World Cups and two European Championships.
ST: Carlos Bianchi (Argentina)
Carlos Bianchi debuted with Vélez Sarsfield at the age of 18. In 1973, Bianchi was signed by Stade de Reims in France, where he was top scorer in Lique in 1974, 1976 and 1977.  In 1977 he joined Paris Saint-Germain in which Bianchi was again the top scorer of the league in 2 seasons spent in the club.  he also played for Strasbourg. He is the top scorer in the history of Vélez Sarsfield with 206.  Capped 14 times between 1970 and 1972.

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Swden)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was born in Sweden of Bosnian-Croat origin.  He won Sweden Player of the Year 11 times.  He was the Serie A Player of the Year for 5 times.   He played with Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris St.Germain, Manchester United and LA Galaxy.  He is currently the second-most decorated active footballer in the world, having won 32 trophies in his career. At the time of writing, he has over 116 caps. He is the all-time leading scorer for Sweden.  
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Honorable Mention
Juan Pablo Sorin (Argentina), Leonardo (Brazil), Jean-Pierre Dogliani (France), Michel Bibard (France), François M'Pelé (Congo), Sylvain Armand (France), Marco Verratti (Italy), Blaise Matuidi (France), Daniel Bravo (France), Vincent Guérin (France), Mickaël Landreau, Patrice Loko (France), Marco Simone (Italy), Eric Renaut (France), Jean Djorkaeff (France), Youri Djorkaeff (France), Jay Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Neymar (Brazil), Laurent Robert (France), Angel Di Maria (Argentina), David Luiz (Brazil), Dominique Bathenay (France), Marquinhos (Brazil), Oumar Sene (Senegal).

Squad Explanation
-- The 1996 Cup Winners' Cup victory is their only European victory. it is one of the two trophies won by a French club in Europe. Bernard Lama, Rai, Alain Roche and Laurent Fournier made my all-time team. Rai was probably their best player in that generation. 
-- The arrival of Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Oryx Qatar Sports Investments (QSi) made dramatic chances for the club.  At the time of writing, only a few players made my team. In the future, many more from the new generation will make this team.  PSG can afford better players and win more trophies. I foresee a great future for Neymar and Kylian Mbappé.  
-- In December, 2019, I did a review.  Neymar's career here has been derailed by injuries. Mustapha Dahleb (Algeria) and George Weah are ahead of him on the attack midfielder/forward position.  He probably will remain as an honorable mention.  Kylian Mbappé already won the Ligue Player of the Year award once.  It will take a few more years before I can make a final decision on him.
-- Bernard Lama (France) was a key player during PSG's Golden years in the mid-1990's. Salvatore Sirigu has won many trophies for the team. I credited him for that.
-- Thiago Silva now leads the number of matches played as the PSG captain and 7th in appearance record overall.  He also represented the new era under Nasser Al-Khelaifi.  He had played for them since 2012.
-- George Weah was was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or in 1995 as a member of the team. At the time of writing, he is the only player who won the trophy as an active PSG player.
-- Both Vincent Guérin and Marco Simeone won Ligue One Player of the Season, but I only put them on honorable mention. As mentioned, I am still pending on Neymar and Kylian Mbappé who also won the award.  The other winners(Ginola, Cavani and Ibrahimovic) from PSG all made the team.

-- Edinson Cavani earns his place on the team after he became the all-time leading scorer for the club.  I dropped Jay Jay Okocha.  The team is overloaded with attack midfielders. I already have Ronaldinho, Rai, Valdo, Safet Sušić and Mustapha Dahleb.  George Weah could also operate there.
-- Ronaldinho was briefly an understudy to Jay Jay Okocha who was treating the new playmaker as if he was his brother.  He was not performing at the beginning of the season, but he soon established himself at the club.  By the summer of 2002, he earned a starting position with Brazil at the 2002 World Cup Finals alongside Ronaldo and Rivaldo as the three "R"s .  Of the three footballers, Ronaldinho was relatively least known than the two "R"s.
-- Rai starred in PSG, which led to him to become the starting playmaker at Brazil's World Cup team in 1994. However, he failed to perform and was mainly used as bench player in the Finals.  Nevertheless, he was great in Paris and his World Cup performance was not an issue here.
-- Safet Sušić is the all-time assist leader for the club.  He is tied in third place for appearance record and 7th in goal scoring record.  In 2010, France Football selected him as PSG's all-time greatest player and the best foreign player of Ligue 1 of all time. 
-- Youri Djorkaeff only spent one year at the club, but he helped to win  the Cup Winners' Cup.  I almost selected him, but the team has too many attack midfielders.  Valdo, Rai, Ronaldinho and Susic all have a much longer career than him.  
-- Jean Djorkaeff is the first ever captain for the club, but he did not play in Paris long enough.  He played here between 1970 and 1972.  He is a member of PSG Hall of Flame, but he is only on my honourable mention.
-- Angel Di Maria's stats spoke for itself.  At the point of writing, he is eighth in all-time goal scoring and third in assists.  
-- Zlatan Ibrahimovic is their second all-time scorer.  He was at one point the leading scorer until Edinson Cavani broke it.  He won Ligue One Player of the Season three times.
-- Mustapha Dahleb (Algeria) was the PSG all-time leading scorer before Zlatan Ibrahimovi.
-- Pauleta is third leading scorer for the club.
-- Carlos Bianchi's goal/games ratio is too amazing. He is also a member of the PSG Hall of Flame.
-- Jean-Marc Pilorget is the all-time appearance leader with the club. Dominique Bathenay is the club's longest serving captain.
-- Marco Verratti probably would become an all-timer at PSG.  At this moment, he is only 27 years old.  He is still too young to be considered to be an all-timer.  Moreover, he also had Luis Fernandez, Dominique Bathenay and Paul Le Guen ahead of him. So I only put him as an honorable mention.
-- Luis Fernandez (France) was homegrown.  He was one of the best midfielders in the world during the 1980's.
-- Ricardo Gomez  and Valdo moved to PSG from Benfica together. They also returned together back to Benfica.  They won the 1993-1994 Ligue One title here. 
-- David Beckham is also a member of PSG Hall of Flame.  He only played for them during a loan spell that lasted from January to May, 2013.  I am not considering him for this all-time team.  
-- As of Deecember, 2019, Jean-Pierre Dogliani and Jay Jay Okacha are the only other members of the Hall of Flame not selected for this team.


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