Pauleta to AS: "PSG must always be the favorite with Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar"
PSG enters a pivotal weekend in which they will visit Marseille for the 25th game of their Ligue 1 campaign. Paris Saint-Germain went back to their winning ways last Sunday against Lille (4-3) but they can't rest on their laurels this Sunday with Olympique Marseille sitting second in the standings just five points behind PSG.
Former PSG striker and Portugal legend Pedro Pauleta spoke to the Spanish newspaper AS ahead of the Classique and shared his thoughts on the current iteration of PSG.
Pauleta, who is a Ligue 1 ambassador these days, offered his point of view on what Christophe Galtier's team is going through both in the French league and in the Champions League, fully knowing that Paris Saint-Germain has yet to lift the UCL trophy after more than 10 years under the QSI (Qatar-based) ownership.
"PSG must always be one of the favorites having Neymar, Messi, and Mbappe," said Pauleta. "But the big favorites are always Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich... those clubs are always the favorites because they are always there (competing for titles)."
Pauleta: "I hope PSG win the Champions League, but right now it's very difficult"
Pauleta thinks that "when you look at teams like Bayern and Madrid, those are the favorites" but also that "if you look at other clubs like PSG, Manchester City, and Chelsea, who have spent a lot of money to win the Champions League..." he "hopes that one day PSG will win it and I am sure that one day that trophy will arrive."
For the Portugal international, PSG "is a very important club in France," and he also acknowledged that he is "a fan of the French club" so he "hopes to see them win the Champions League one day." Pauleta then added that "right now, it is very difficult (for PSG to win it)."
Pauleta explained that when it comes to the Classique, those are "different games" and that people start "hyping and living them one or two weeks before they happen."
"I have had the opportunity to play the Classique with PSG. Fans are thinking about that game since the beginning of the week with high expectations and everyone wants to win," said Pauleta. He added that when he was at PSG, "Paris was not at their best and Marseille were better."
"Normally, when the game came it was not noticeable," Pauleta thinks of the games he took part in. "I had the opportunity to play and score in many games against Marseille, and the French fans are crazy about football so there was a totally different atmosphere in the stadium”, added the Portuguese.
Regarding Neymar's absence from the match against Marseille (confirmed ligament damage in his right ankle) and perhaps for the Champions League return game at Bayern Munich, Pauleta is not concerned as PSG has many top-talent players to make up for his omission.
"PSG has players like Neymar, Messi, and Mbappe," started Pauleta. "It is a pity for us as fans that Neymar is not there because [he's the type of player] who makes the difference in a match and who is different from all the others." Pauleta thinks, though, that Neymar's absence "will create an opportunity for other players," as the Classique is a game "everyone wants to play."