PSG May Never Lose If They Line-Up This Way With Messi
Barcelona’s greatest player, Lionel Messi, is seemingly moving to PSG this season, with reports from multiple football insiders indicating that the confirmation of a deal is imminent. For those of you who may be unaware, Messi’s impending arrival in Paris is equivalent to when Thanos retrieved the sixth infinity stone or Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors, except this move might be on an even larger scale. The Parisian giants will have the left-footed magician in an attacking front that also boasts incredible talent in Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. The defense is highlighted by central defenders Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe, with summer signings Sergio Ramos and Achraf Hakimi joining the fray. The midfield is also loaded with talent including Marco Verratti, Leandro Paredes, and the newly signed Georginio Wijnaldum. And lest we forget, there is a battle for the goalkeeper spot between Keylor Navas and Gianluigi Donnarumma. This is a stacked team that boasts world-class talent at nearly every position, and they should expect to have some serious hardware by the end of the season.
Such a talented team certainly has incredible expectations, and this squad will have to deliver. This much talent is incomparable to the rest of Europe, and even Manchester City may not hold a candle to this squad. So, PSG will have to win and this is how they can do it with Messi, Mbappe, and more.
The Formation to Conquer European Football: 3-4-3
This is the formation PSG must play with Messi if they want to maximize the full talent on this squad. For starters, I do think Donnarumma eventually wins the goalkeeper battle against Navas. The 22-year-old won Euro 2020 with Italy and did not vanish when the lights were the brightest. He is also the future keeper at the club so it makes sense to bring him in and play him early. The pair of keepers will likely run a rotation with both appearing in Ligue 1 play as well as Champions League, but as PSG progress into the season, I do see Donnarumma taking the job.
A back three allows for the depth at the center-back position to be shown and used at maximum strength. Despite his age, 35, Ramos is still a bruising center-back. Playing him in a central “sweeper” role will disguise his lack of speed, but does allow him to maintain his presence on the pitch and he can simply hit people if they break the line. His leadership and experience on the backline are always needed. For the other center-halves, Kimpembe will be on the left of Ramos with Marquinhos on his right. Those are two world-class defenders that start for their respective national teams, and despite Ramos’ arrival at the club, neither should see their playing time diminished – a rotation is more likely.
Now onto the wing-backs and central midfield. I love a good pivot and both Wijnaldum and Verratti are good game managers in the center of the pitch. While this team will likely control possession regardless, having a pair that is versatile enough to defend and attack is wonderful. I chose this 3-4-3 because it maximizes Hakimi’s ability on that right flank. Paris Saint-Germain spent €70 million on the Moroccan international, so they might as well use him in his best position. The 22-year-old could very well be the best in the world at that position, so the team should not handicap him in a four-man backline. Let him push forward, with the prospect of overlapping runs alongside Messi being an exciting proposition. The left wing-back position could go to Bernat or Layvin Kurzawa, but I gave a slight edge to the former. Do not be surprised if Paredes plays in the pivot with Verratti or Wijnaldum as a more defensive midfielder allowing the other to push forward.
Now, the attackers. PSG has under contract three of the most gifted forwards in the world. The team can field Messi, arguably the best player in the world, Mbappe, the best youngster in the world, and Neymar as a hefty bonus. The football world saw what a trio of Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez did at Barcelona, and this is scarier. This trio scored 97 goals combined in club competitions last season and tacked on 31 assists. Those are individual numbers when they were not in the same locker room, so imagine what they can do together. The trio could very well have more than 100 goals between them come season’s end, and with Verratti, Wijnaldum, Hakimi, and Bernat joining in the attack, there will be chances galore for PSG.
This team is simply unfair. They are a cheat code in real life and they are a cheat code in the virtual realm too. This line-up maximizes the strengths of the best 11 players on this roster and puts them in a league of their own. If I were Mauricio Pochettino, this is the formation I use to conquer Europe. Alas, I am not the manager of PSG, so I cannot make that decision. The former Tottenham gaffer will likely roll out with a four-man backline in a standard 4-3-3. This team is still gifted beyond all measure and that team will win games, but if they play the 3-4-3 PSG with Messi, Mbappe, and company, they may not lose a game this season.
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