France: Marseilles aim to prevent Paris from buying way to title


While Spain has El Clasico, France has Le Classique; another contest whose bitterness is exacerbated by political history and geographical division. The football rivalry between Olympique Marseilles and Paris St-Germain, who meet tomorrow, only goes back a quarter of a century when PSG finally began to challenge for titles. But culturally the nation's capital and biggest port have distrusted each other for centuries.

Marseilles are traditionally France's biggest club, and the only one to win the Champions League, although the 1993 success was marred by allegations of match-fixing. But since PSG were taken over by Qatari owners they have become the big spenders, splashing out £67m during the summer on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Thiago Silva. They joined Alex, Maxwell, Gregory van der Wiel, Thiago Motta, Javier Pastore, Blaise Matudi and Jérémy Ménez in a team of all talents. For coach Carlo Ancelotti, the title is the bare minimum he has to achieve.

Marseilles came 10th last year, 31 points behind PSG, 34 adrift of champions Montpellier. They won the French Cup but Didier Deschamps quit to coach France; Elie Baup, last employed taking Nantes to relegation in 2009, replaced him. Loanee Joey Barton was one of the highest-profile signings, and expectations were low.

Then OM began with six wins while PSG started with three draws. France was agog – along with a few Qataris. Ancelotti's team have since been winning, with Ibrahimovic prolific, while Marseilles lost 4-1 at Valenciennes last weekend enabling PSG to move within three points at the top. Marseilles regained belief with a 5-1 Europa League win over AEL Limassol and the Stade Vélodrome will noisily hope they can delay PSG's inevitable rise a little bit longer.

ESPN show exclusive coverage of Milan v Inter and Marseilles v PSG Visit for details

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Life and Style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits