7 of PSG’s Best Big Game Players of the Modern Era

?It’s quite easy to forget that Paris Saint-Germain actually have a history that pre-dates the 2010s, before they were injected with a healthy financial boost from new owners.

With that, people are often quick to forget about their highs and lows as a relatively young football club, which includes a successful decade throughout the 1990s, and a somewhat interesting 2000s.

Despite flirting with relegation on two occasions, and slumping to several other disappointing finishes as the club battled with ownership issues and hooliganism amongst fans, PSG never went down in their darkest time. That was often thanks to the incredible individuals they had on the pitch at the time.

With all that considered, here is 90min’s list of the seven greatest players to do it in big games over the years for PSG.


Pauleta


Before Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani, there was Pauleta. 

The Portuguese forward enjoyed a prolific 18-year career, including five seasons with PSG where he became their talisman at a key time.

PSG spent a reported €12m to bring him in from Bordeaux for the 2003/04 season, with him acting as the replacement for the outgoing Ronaldinho. The risk paid off, as the forward bagged 23 goals in all competitions in his debut season with the club, guiding PSG to their first trophy in six years and a second placed finish in the league.

Biggest Moment: He was the Ligue 1 top scorer for two consecutive seasons from 2005 to 2007, and was the top scorer in the 05/06 Coupe de France, which PSG won that season. His goals kept PSG afloat in the top flight during a difficult spell which could’ve been much worse.

He would score a total of 109 goals in 211 appearances for Les Parisiens before retiring in 2008, and remains their third top goalscorer to this day.


Ronaldinho

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Despite only spending two seasons in the French capital, fans knew that Ronaldinho was destined to be a world-beater, which is why Pauleta had such big shoes to fill when he replaced the Brazilian legend and future Ballon d’Or winner in 2003.

Arriving from Gremio in 2001, Ronaldinho joined a side that was already home to the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha and Nicolas Anelka, and initially found himself struggling for a consistent spot in the starting XI.

However, the tricky Brazilian returned from his first winter break with a new lease of life, and took the league by storm from then on in, ending his first season with 13 goals and seven assists in all competitions.

Ronaldinho donned the number 10 shirt in the 2002/03 season, as his ability reached new heights. 

Biggest Moment: His mesmerising trickery led to a number of spectacular goals that season, including a brace in the Coupe de France semi-final, which took PSG to the final. The first was a smart finish into the bottom corner, but the second was a ridiculous dink over the keeper from the edge of the box. Filth.


?Marco Verratti?

Kylian Mbappe,Marco Verratti

Moving further down the pitch and further forward in time, Italian midfielder Marco Verratti signed for PSG from Pescara ahead of the 2012/13 season.

Verratti had made a name for himself as one of Pescara’s best performers as they were promoted from Serie B to the Italian top flight the previous season, winning two individual awards for his efforts.

He helped PSG to the Ligue 1 title in his debut season, playing 39 times across all competitions as a vital cog in their midfield, and would better this the following year as Les Parisiens won a treble. Verratti also picked up the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year for his efforts in the 2013/14 season.

So far, Verratti has registered 52 assists in 310 games for PSG, which is impressive when you consider that he is deployed as the deeper-lying playmaker.

Biggest Moment: Verratti’s technical excellence was rewarded as he made the 2018/19 Ligue 1 Team of the Season for an astonishing seventh time, winning his sixth league title in Paris.


Thiago Silva

Thiago Silva

Thiago Silva’s arrival to the French capital for a reported €42m was, at the time, a record fee for a defender, and the first example of PSG flexing their new found financial power. He arrived from Milan ahead of the 2012/13 season and made an immediate impact despite a few injuries.

Silva quickly established the form that had got him the high-profile move to Paris, and has kept it pretty much ever since, appearing in seven consecutive Ligue 1 Teams of the Season since his arrival. His consistency, comprised of quick defending and sharp aerial ability along with his outstanding leadership traits, has seen him become one of football’s greatest captains for both PSG and Brazil.

Biggest Moment: While PSG have failed to mount any major European success, their domestic feats are still an incredible achievement. Silva was voted Man of the Match in a hard-fought victory against Montpellier that clinched the club the Ligue 1 title for the 2014/15 season.

Last season’s eighth league title could prove to be his last in France however, with this season’s finish in jeopardy due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Brazilian is now 35 and has not been offered a new contract as his is set to expire at the end of the season, which suggests his time in Paris could be coming to an end.


Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani

Signing for PSG in 2013 after impressing at Italian side ?Napoli, Edinson Cavani enjoyed a successful start to life in Paris, winning Ligue 1 in the 2013/14 season (obviously), Coupe de la Ligue? and the Trophee des Champions.

Despite bagging 25 goals in all competitions in his debut season however, Cavani was overshadowed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Uruguayan took charge of the front line for himself in 2016 however, when Zlatan departed for Manchester United, and has been the talisman ever since. So far, Cavani has an incredible 200 goals in 301 games in all competitions in Paris, and is their all-time top goalscorer.

Biggest Moment: In the 2014/15 season, Cavani was instrumental in securing a domestic treble for PSG. He bagged a hat-trick in a 6-0 thrashing of Guincamp which effectively secured them the league, and followed it up by scoring the only goal in the Coupe de France final, which was his 31st goal that season.

Similarly to Thiago Silva, a now 33-year-old Cavani seems to have one foot out of the door in Paris, as his contract is set to expire in summer. He leaves behind an incredible legacy.


George Weah


Arguably the greatest African footballer ever, George Weah only spent three years with PSG, but boy did he make the most of them.

Joining from Monaco in 1992, Weah enjoyed great success in the capital, capturing a league title, the Coupe de France twice and the Coupe de la Ligue.

Biggest Moment: He finished top scorer in the ?Champions League for the 1994/95 season with seven goals, as PSG reached the semi-final. His exceptional performances that season earned him the FIFA Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or for the year of 1995. 

Despite quickly moving onto the Serie A to play for Milan, Weah’s legacy at PSG was cemented, where he will forever be remembered as a legend.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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A key transfer in PSG’s history as they marked themselves as a major power in world football, the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was colossal.

Ibrahimovic, age 30 at the time, signed a mega contract with the club ahead of the 2012/13 season and made an instant impact, scoring six goals in his first five games. It only took him until December 2012 for him to register his first hat-trick with Les Parisiens, bagging three against Valenciennes in the league. He finished his debut season with 30 goals in Ligue 1 as PSG finished as champions.

This quickly became the start of PSG’s domestic domination, and Ibrahimovic was absolutely responsible for pushing them so far ahead with his unrivalled goal scoring ability, which continued up until his departure in 2016.

Biggest Moment: Zlatan reached 100 goals for PSG within three years of being at the club, and edged over the mark with some important goals. He scored a hat-trick in the 2015 Coupe de France semi-final to send his side through to the final, where they ultimately won the tournament again thanks to Ibrahimovic, who bagged a brace in the 4-0 win. 

He remains their all-time second-top goalscorer.


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