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Five reasons why PSG will win the Champions League - Zlatan Ibrahimovic key

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Paris Saint-Germain are on fire this season. But for Tuesday night's defeat to Real Madrid, they are unbeaten in all competitions and appear to be running away with the Ligue 1 title.

Laurent Blanc's side are clearly driven to retain the French title for a fourth consecutive campaign, though the trophy they really crave is the Champions League - and this season they are fiercely motivated to win it.

Marseille are the only French side to have ever lifted the coveted trophy, and that was over two decades ago in 1993, when they had players such as Marcel Desailly, Didier Deschamps, Rudi Voller and Abedi Pele.

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It is about time one of the French clubs stepped up, and this season, as has been the case in recent years, it will be PSG proudly flying the tricolor flag on Europe's biggest stage.

Here are five reasons why this is PSG's time:

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1. Hunger

The money invested in the Parisian team has been well documented since the Qatari takeover in 2011 and the club's new financial power has elevated them to levels beyond anyone's expectations.

They have turned Ligue 1 into a one-club league, where finishing second place is a triumph for all the other teams.

As is the case with Manchester City and their super-rich owners, domestic success is not enough. The Qatari project at PSG was ultimately founded on an ambition to win the Champions League.

Season after season they have bought players, some ready-made superstars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani; some promising players with huge potential, such as Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi.

This season, Blanc and his side will be hungrier than ever to win the world's most competitive club competition. His squad boasts a beautiful balance between youth and experience with enough talent to beat any team in the world.

Although the challenge is massive for the French champions, everybody at the club will know three consecutive quarter-final exits is not good enough for a club of their size, and this year they will throw everything they have at reaching the final in Milan. 

2. The Zlatan Factor

The man is a club legend. The Sweden international now holds the all-time goalscoring record and is still undoubtedly one of the finest strikers in the world.

Injury hampered his progress at the start of the season, but he has been at his devastating best since his return, scoring seven goals in seven Ligue 1 matches. 

Like PSG's owners, manager, players and fans, Ibrahimovic is driven to make sure this is his club's year to lift the Champions League trophy. He has won Serie A, La Liga, and Ligue 1 titles, yet amazingly he has never won a European honour.

At 34, the maverick Swede will know this could well be his last shot at winning it and expect him to be on top of his game as Les Parisiens bid to reach the final in May.  

3. Defensive Power

Every Champions League winner has to be solid and well-organised at the back - and this PSG side are exactly that. Summer signing Kevin Trapp has seemingly put his mistakes behind him in goal and Serge Aurier and Layvin Kurzawa have added a youthful energy in the full-back positions.

It is in the centre of defence, however, where PSG are most solid. In Thiago Silva, they have arguably the finest all-round defender in the world who can stifle any opponent.

Alongside him, David Luiz or Marquinhos can slot in and both have shown a great level of understanding and consistency at the heart of the Parisian defence.

The Brazilian trio are a real force and having three accomplished ball-playing defenders will be vital to PSG's Champions League campaign. 

4. Leadership

It may be relatively obvious, but every successful team needs a number of leaders - and PSG have experience and leadership in abundance right the way through the team.

Up front, Ibrahimovic is his side's talisman and leads by example through his attitude and goalscoring exploits.

In the middle of the park, veteran ball-winning midfielder Thiago Motta has won the Champions League already with Inter Milan and is a vocal presence on the pitch, instructing the younger players around him. Alongside him, Matuidi and Verratti are not conventional leaders as such, but both inspire and lead through their determined attitudes and battling spirit on the pitch.

At the back, PSG possess the world's finest captain. The inspirational leader of his club and country, Silva is an archetypal skipper who commands his team through his solid and combative spirit, coupled with an incredibly consistent level of performance and skill on the ball.

When the going gets tough, teams need leaders to inspire them and it's fair to say Blanc's side possess more than most in this department. 

5. Faltering Barca, Bayern and Madrid

Well, perhaps it's an exaggeration to say Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are 'faltering' considering the latter two are top of their respective leagues, and Barcelona are second place in La Liga, but they have all shown signs of weakness and vulnerability this season. 

Bayern's 2-0 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates was a shock and the Gunners proved that if teams can withstand the pressure and nullify the Germans' attacks, they can be exploited on the counter attack.

As for the Spanish giants, neither side have looked overly convincing so far this season. Luis Enrique's side have lost twice in the league whilst Real haven't looked quite as cohesive as they did under Carlo Ancelotti.

Conclusion

So, this really could be PSG's year to lift the famous Champions League trophy. They will be hoping for a kind draw, but even if they do play against any of the aforementioned 'Big Three', the French side will know they have the match-winning knowhow to beat any one of them.

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Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Paris Saint-Germain
Football

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