‘We have more enemies now’ PSG coach Emery, says


Montpellier's French head coach Michel Der Zakarian (L) and Paris Saint-Germain's Spanish head coach Unai ...
Montpellier's French head coach Michel Der Zakarian (L) and Paris Saint-Germain's Spanish head coach Unai Emery (Rear) react during the French Ligue 1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Montpellier on September 23, 2017 at the Stade de la Mosson stadium in Montpellier, southern France. / AFP PHOTO.

 

Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery believes it reflects well on his team that Europe’s traditional powerhouses now see the French club as “enemies” after their unprecedented close-season spending spree.

PSG spent a world-record 222 million euros ($264 million) to sign Neymar from Barcelona and also welcomed Kylian Mbappe from Monaco on an initial loan deal that is set to become a permanent move for 180 million euros next year.

After failing to make it past the quarter-finals of the Champions League in the last five years – and following their humiliating loss to Barcelona last season – those deals were the clearest signs yet of the determination of PSG’s Qatari owners to win the European Cup and they have upset their rivals in the process.

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian M'Bappe controls the ball during the French Ligue 1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lyon (OL) at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris.AFP PHOTO
Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian M’Bappe controls the ball during the French Ligue 1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lyon (OL) at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris.The youngster alongside Neymar are the faces of PSG’S mega riches.AFP PHOTO

“When I was in Spain, I watched the big clubs – Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, the Manchester clubs, Juventus – and I saw that every year they would buy the best players in the world,” said Emery, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Bayern in Paris.

“The team here has taken big steps towards competing with the best sides. Today, in sporting terms, we have more enemies.

“They see that we are a serious team with the players we have bought in the past and also this year, and now we can also be among the candidates to win the Champions League.

Paris Saint-Germain's Spanish head coach Unai Emery gestures during the French Ligue 1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Montpellier on September 23, 2017 at the Stade de la Mosson stadium in Montpellier, southern France. / AFP PHOTO.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Spanish head coach Unai Emery gestures during the French Ligue 1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Montpellier on September 23, 2017 at the Stade de la Mosson stadium in Montpellier, southern France. / AFP PHOTO.

Enemies

“That is why for other teams we are now the sporting enemies and people talk more about us. Lots of things are said, some true, some not. But I think it’s good that people are talking a lot about PSG because PSG are among the top clubs in Europe.”

The president of Spain’s La Liga, Javier Tebas, recently accused PSG of “laughing” at UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules with their signings of Neymar and Mbappe, who had also been a target for Real Madrid.

Wednesday’s opponents Bayern have been critics of the French side too.

Bayern president Uli Hoeness told German magazine Kicker this week that spending 100 million euros on a player would be “unacceptable” for his club.

Meanwhile, Bayern winger Arjen Robben mocked PSG before the German side’s departure for Paris on Tuesday, reminding them that “money doesn’t score goals”.

(FILES) This file photo taken on August 18, 2017 shows Bayern Munich's Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben as he reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs Bayern Leverkusen in the southern German city of Munich. Bayern Munich play Paris Saint-Germain away in a blockbuster Champions League clash on Wednesday with the old 'FC Hollywood' nickname having returned to haunt the Bavarian giants. / AFP PHOTO
(FILES) This file photo taken on August 18, 2017 shows Bayern Munich’s Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben as he reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs Bayern Leverkusen in the southern German city of Munich.
Bayern Munich play Paris Saint-Germain away in a blockbuster Champions League clash on Wednesday with the old ‘FC Hollywood’ nickname having returned to haunt the Bavarian giants. / AFP PHOTO

PSG and Bayern are level on three points each in Champions League Group B ahead of Wednesday’s game, having both won on the opening matchday.

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