PSG’s greatest modern XI – but only picking one player from each country

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​Selecting a best ever XI for a team as laden with world superstars as PSG sounds like an absolute walk in the park – observing social distancing measure at all times when in said park, of course.

However, when you add the proviso that you can only pick one player from any one nation, things start to get a little tricky.

​Neymar or Ronaldinho? Mbappé or Djorkaeff?

None of the above feature in our greatest PSG XI, so you can probably start to get an idea for just how tough this is.

We’ve adopted an audacious 3-5-2 formation and in all honesty this team would probably concede every ten minutes, but chances are they’ll score every five minutes as well. You can do the maths on that one.

GK: Keylor Navas (Costa Rica)

The goalkeeper has spent a year in the French capital having moved from Spanish giants Real Madrid last summer.

The Costa Rican has enjoyed a solid first year at the club, with PSG sitting top of Ligue 1 by a handsome 12-point margin, while they also qualified for the quarter finals of the Champions League by beating German side Borussia Dortmund.

At 33, Navas should have another couple of years left in the tank as a top goalkeeper, and he’ll be hoping to boast his already impressive CV with a few more trophies with PSG.

DF: Thiago Silva (Brazil)

It may seem absolutely inconceivable not to include Neymar or Ronaldinho, but PSG have got a forward line like a Ferrari F1 car and a defence like a Renault Clio. So if a world-class defender like Thiago Silva comes along, you’ve got to include him.

Signed from Milan in 2012 as the most expensive defender in the world, Silva has been a constant at the back for PSG for almost a decade.

Captain for club and country, the 35-year-old was for many years the greatest centre back in the world. The Brazilian has suffered his fair share of injuries throughout his career, but nonetheless will go down as one of the game’s great defenders.

DF: Mario Yepes (Colombia)

Perhaps remembered more for his time in Milan, Yepes enjoyed four years in Paris between 2004 and 2008.

The former Colombia international made 140 appearances for the French side before moving to Chievo. He left Paris something of a cult hero, winning both the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue during his time in the capital.

DF: Thomas Meunier (Belgium)

The 28-year-old has been at the club since 2016, having signed from Club Brugge, and his time in Paris has seen him cement his place in the Belgium set-up as well as securing two league titles.

Speculation surrounding Meunier’s future has been ongoing for a few seasons now, with many Premier League suitors said to be interested in acquiring his signature – especially Tottenham.

CM: Claude Makélélé (France)

It’s one thing to have a stand at a stadium named after you, or to have a piece of skill named after you, but to have an actual position named after you?! That is an honour very few players achieve. But this man did just that.

The ‘Makélélé role’, also known as the role where you barely move from in front of the back four, win absolutely everything and make everything look easy, is not actually as easy as it looks. That’s when you realise the man is a genius.

The Frenchman may have been entering the twilight of his career when he arrived in Paris, but that didn’t stop him being absolutely tremendous.

CM: Marco Verratti (Italy)

Our Italian in the ranks. Veratti has established himself as a key component in the PSG engine room since signing for the club in 2012.

His technique and confidence on the ball is second to none, with legends of the game such as former Barcelona metronome Xavi lauding his ability.

At 27, the gifted midfielder still has plenty of his best years ahead of him.

AMF: Ángel Di María (Argentina)

A player reborn.

Di María’s time at Old Trafford was infuriating. Having started off brilliantly at Manchester United, the Argentinian just didn’t fit into Louis van Gaal’s system.

The same cannot be said of his time in Paris.

The winger has rediscovered his form of old, tearing apart Ligue 1 defences week after week. With a staggering 81 goals in 217 games for the Parisians, Di María is enjoying the best football of his career at 32.

AMF: Safet Sušić (Yugoslavia)

A catalyst for the Paris side’s success in the 1980s, Sušić signed for PSG in 1982 from Bosnian side Sarajevo and became an instant hit.

During the 1985/86 season the midfielder scored ten goals as PSG lifted their first ever national league title.

His 96 goals and 61 assists between 1982 and 1991 made him a PSG hero. He currently sits third on the PSG all-time appearance list with 343, the highest placed non-Frenchman.

AMF: Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria)

So good they named him twice.

You know how people always point to Ronaldinho as Messi’s mentor at Barcelona? Look no further than this man if you’re ever wondering who mentored Ronaldinho.

A magician of a footballer who could do things other players could only dream of, his PSG record of 12 league goals in 84 games may not jump off the page at you, but that only tells half the story of his time in Paris.

ST: Pauleta (Portugal)

A special mention must go to Edinson Cavani, who can quite rightly feel aggrieved to miss out, but Pauleta played for PSG in a different era.

There weren’t billions upon billions available for PSG to make waves with. They certainly weren’t running away with the league every year, so to score 109 goals in 213 games is pretty special.

Despite scoring more than 20 goals in three of the five seasons he spent at PSG, Pauleta never won more than a domestic cup competition.

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden)

Yep, it’s him.

At 31 years of age, Zlatan moved to PSG and proved to the world he still had what it took. Granted he wasn’t playing against the best defences around, but 156 goals in 180 games is quite simply ridiculous.

The Swede moved to Manchester United after four years in France and didn’t do too badly there either. He’s currently at former club Milan, where he’s still scoring goals. Reckon he’ll ever stop?

RELATED STORY: Mourinho has named his all time best XI

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