Meet the President

After spending £212m, the president of PSG is well on the way to making the only major club in Paris the envy of Europe.

Nasser al-Khelaifi appears fond of the phrase. It is short and punchy, and it serves as something of a mission statement for his presidency of Paris Saint-Germain. “We dream big,” he says, on more than one occasion. Happily for him and the French capital’s only major football club, dreams have the habit of coming true when they are supported by bundles and bundles of cash.

It is Wednesday afternoon and the stands at the rough-and-ready Parc des Princes are empty. The night before, they had teemed with passion and rampant joy as PSG made a triumphant return to the Champions League. The 4-1 victory over Dynamo Kyiv could scarcely have been scripted better. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, two of the highest-profile summer signings, got the opening goals while Javier Pastore, the marque purchase from the previous close season, got the final one. The trio cost €105m (£84m) in transfer fees alone.

Jean-Claude Blanc, the PSG director-general, wanders over, all dark velvet tailoring and Gallic style. “It was one of those nights when everything comes together,” he says. He has been in sport for long enough to know that things are rarely this simple. “The highs are fleeting,” he adds. “You feel the lows for longer.” Khelaifi reinforces the sense of perspective. “Last night was just the first step,” he says.

But these are heady days for the long-sleeping, rapidly-waking Parisian institution and there is no masking the sense of excitement. Since Khelaifi’s Qatar Sports Investments took over 70% of the club’s shares last summer, they have spent roughly a quarter of a billion euros on transfer fees. The most expensive purchase, Lucas Moura, at €45m (£36m), is yet to arrive, having been loaned back to São Paulo until the end of the year. Ezequiel Lavezzi, at €30m (£24m), was a mere substitute against Kiev.

Learn more about PSG’s ambitions here, and leave us your comments on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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