PSG say they need more time to reach the top in Europe

Zlatan Ibrahimovic backs former club Barcelona to win the competition

PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves the pitch after the Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain at the Camp Nou Stadium. Photo: Emilio Morenatti/AP

PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves the pitch after the Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain at the Camp Nou Stadium. Photo: Emilio Morenatti/AP

 

Paris St Germain’s then sports director Leonardo declared the club were ready for tougher competitions in Europe two years ago but Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final exit suggests PSG need more time to reach the top.

PSG were knocked out 5-1 on aggregate by Barcelona despite Zlatan Ibrahimovic and talismanic midfielder Marco Verratti returning to the Ligue 1 side from suspension but coach Laurent Blanc was not really shocked.

“Those who follow FC Barcelona know the patience required to win the Champions League. You need the means, but also some patience,” Blanc said after the 2-0 defeat at the Nou Camp, which followed last week’s 3-1 humbling at the Parc des Princes.

“The first qualified for the semi-finals are Barca and Bayern Munich. Paris will certainly be there one day but you have to understand we need time,” he said after PSG’s third successive quarter-final exit in the tournament.

Once again, Sweden striker Ibrahimovic failed to shine in a big game in which his attacking partner Edinson Cavani, despite his limitations, seemed more involved.

PSG saw off Chelsea in the previous round but that was more of a one-tie thing, with Thiago Silva and David Luiz scoring after Ibrahimovic had been sent off in the second leg.

Luiz was below-par in the last two games, being at fault on four of the five goals PSG conceded against Barca, but PSG’s limitations are collective, conceded midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

“Barcelona are an institution, a club who have been at the top level for a long time, like Real Madrid or Bayern Munich,” the France international said.

“We have been around for five years only.”

PSG were bought in 2011 by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), who invested massively in the club hoping to win Europe’s premium club competition.

While they never look threatened in the Group stage, PSG have been failing against top-notch opposition.

“Let’s be realistic, they were better than us. They will probably win the Champions League,” Ibrahimovic admitted.

“As far as we are concerned, it is not possible to reach that goal on short term. We have made several big steps and we were eliminated by a superb team.

“Let’s not lie to ourselves, it’s just reality.”

PSG will now focus on winning the Ligue 1 title for the third consecutive season -- a goal more suited to their capacities -- with a possible treble on the cards as they won the League Cup and will play the French Cup final on May 30th.

They are second in the standings behind Olympique Lyonnais on goal difference but have a game in hand.

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