Rio Ferdinand believes Paris Saint-Germain are the favourites for the Champions League this season after a stellar summer transfer window.
The Ligue 1 giants completed the signing of Lionel Messi on Tuesday, with the iconic forward following Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum and Sergio Ramos through the Parc des Princes front door.
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s Super Cup clash with Villarreal on BT Sport on Wednesday, the former England internationals analysed PSG’s business and outlined why it will be tough for teams like Manchester City and Manchester United to challenge them.
“They’ve capped it off at the end with someone like Messi, it’s a formidable front three. The mindset in this team might finally change and that may get them over the line to win the Champions League,” said Ferdinand on punditry duties.
“I think they’re expecting to win it, that’s the big difference.”
Messi’s arrival at PSG is a huge boost to their Champions League hopes. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier – PSG/PSG via Getty Images)
(Image: 2021 PSG)
PSG have come close to Champions League glory on a couple of occasions in the last two seasons, losing to Bayern Munich in the final in 2019 and then falling at the semi-final stage against City last season.
Joe Cole agreed with Ferdinand, explaining that he thinks the formidable attacking triumvirate of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe can be crucial in them taking the next step in the competition.
“We expect 30, 40-plus goals from Messi this season, and we’ll probably get that. The business end, like the latter stages of the Champions League, it’ll be interesting to see when they come up against a Man City, how they do,” added Cole.
That was before Ferdinand claimed that he thinks the new players that have arrived in the French capital will lift standards at the club.
“A big thing for me is the dynamics of the changing room now; Ramos, a certified winner, Messi demands and commands respect from every single player that’s on the pitch,” said the United legend. “Neymar, at times has looked a bit disinterested, a bit loose with the ball… with those guys there now, I don’t think they’ll be able to do that.”
City are also chasing their first European Cup success, having lost to Chelsea in the final of the competition last season.
Pep Guardiola’s side were comprehensive winners over PSG in the semi-finals, with a 2-1 win in Paris followed up by a 2-0 success at the Etihad Stadium in the return leg.
United will be hoping for a much improved showing in the Champions League in 2021-22. Last year, they were eliminated in the group stages of the competition, that despite an impressive 2-1 win over PSG at the Parc des Princes.