French club is visiting D.C. as part of U.S. tour
This is not the same Paris Saint-Germain team that Branko Boskovic joined in 2003. The D.C. United midfielder once played two seasons for arguably the best-known and most prestigious club in France. PSG has been a power player in Ligue 1 since its formation in 1970, but its last league title came in 1994.
It will be even more formidable this season thanks to the spending power of the Qatar Investment Authority, which became the team's sole owner earlier this year and has spent an estimated $137 million on new players this summer. That includes $25 million alone on Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is expected to be the showpiece for up to a half in his club debut against D.C. United on Saturday at RFK Stadium.
|PSG at D.C. United|
|When » Saturday, 7:30 p.m.|
|Where » RFK Stadium|
"It's unbelievable," Boskovic said. "I'm not a big fan to make a team like this, but they deserve to bring PSG to where they were a long time ago. It's a really big club, and I hope this season they're going to win the championship. They wait a long time to do that, and I hope all the best for them."
A $123 million investment last summer brought only second place in the French league, but that's enough to get back into the UEFA Champions League, where PSG will be a feared contender this year. Ibrahimovic's stacked roster of new teammates includes former AC Milan pal Thiago Silva, who is with Brazil at the Olympics; Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli); and Marco Verratti (Pescara).
PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti, who took over in December 2011, led Russian oil money-backed Chelsea to Premier League and FA Cup titles in 2010.
"It's a different story because when I was at Chelsea, the club had already very good history and very good players and the organization was fantastic," Ancelotti said. "Here we are building a new project, building a new team and building a new philosophy. For me, it is very strong motivation to be here and be a part of this project. We want to be competitive in Europe, and we want to win the league in France."
Ibrahimovic may have scored the best goal of the recent 2012 European Championships, a soaring side volley against France.
"You're kind of starstruck, but [Ibrahimovic is not] a guy with two heads," United midfielder Perry Kitchen said. "He's just like us. He's just very good at what he does."
Coming off consecutive losses in MLS, D.C. United hopes to avoid ball-watching while using the friendly as a chance to rediscover its own rhythm and form. With help from Chris Pontius and Dwayne De Rosario, the MLS All-Stars boosted league-wide confidence with their 3-2 victory over Chelsea on Wednesday.
"We also need to prove ourselves because this season we've been good in the league," Boskovic said. "They also think they are playing with a team that is good in MLS. We must prove that, be compact and try to win the game. Why not?"