Rio Ferdinand has revealed why he thinks Paris Saint-Germain will triumph in this season’s Champions League and end their long-standing dream to be crowned kings of Europe.
The Qatari-owned Ligue 1 giants were beaten finalists under Thomas Tuchel last season as Bayern Munich deservedly claimed glory. But they will hope to go one better this time around as they prepare to embark on the semi-finals.
Standing in their way in the last four is the small matter of Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side have their own ambitions to claim a first European Cup.
Tuchel’s new side Chelsea take on Real Madrid in the first semi-final. But Ferdinand is adamant that PSG are the team to beat and he expects them to taste glory next month in Istanbul.
“I think Paris Saint-Germain will win it,” he predicted on his Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel.
“They have the experience of last season, two strikers, the business end of the season they know what it’s about now.
“They’ve been here together, they’re not fazed and I think they’ll have the experience. [Mauricio] Pochettino comes up smelling of roses after a turbulent couple of years.
“I don’t think they’ll care [if he doesn’t win the league]. If he wins the Champions League then he’s outdone everyone because that’s what they are here for.
“Don’t forget, he’s only come in halfway through the season. His fingerprints ain’t all over that league.”
Ferdinand reckons Pochettino can make himself a legend at PSG if they go on to win the Champions League.
“He might get treated like Roberto Di Matteo: win the Champions League and then gets told to do one.
“You never know, we’ll see. But my guess is that if he wins the Champions League they’re giving him a statue outside that place almost.”
Pochettino reveals PSG’s Champions League aim
Pochettino will be hoping for a similar outcome from his previous experience, with Tottenham, in the 2019 Champions League semi-finals.
That time they famously battled back to beat Ajax and book a place in the final against Liverpool.
Having lost the 2020 Champions League final to Bayern, PSG’s Qatari owners will now hope to go one better.
“The target in the last 10 years has been to win the Champions League and the club is working really hard to try to be there and win,” Pochettino commented.
“It is that last step, which is always the most difficult. If you remember at Tottenham, it was always about the last step being the most difficult thing. But Paris Saint-Germain is there and now it is about winning. I love to feel this. I love to feel that you need to win every single game.”