Back in France the praise is heaped on 'heroic' PSG after Chelsea win

View from France: French clubs are no longer junior partners in the Champions League

“Héroïques!” was the headline chosen by both L’Equipe and Le Parisien to salute 10-man Paris Saint-Germain’s exploit at Stamford Bridge.

A truer measure of the delight and astonishment in France was the fact that PSG’s victorious 2-2 away draw led the website of the very serious Le Monde for much of today.

The first battle of Stamford Bridge happened in 1066 just before another bunch of Frenchmen and mercenaries won away at Hastings. The newspaper Le Parisien was in no doubt that, in football terms, Wednesday night’s victory also changed history.

 

“Yes, PSG are now in a different dimension. Yes, Laurent Blanc is a great manager. Yes, PSG are an exceptional club – a club in a category of its own for which dreams of grandeur are now possible,” wrote the newspaper’s main football writer, Dominique Sévérac.

He could not resist teasing Jose Mourinho, who had said PSG was the ideal draw for Chelsea in the first round of the knock-out stage.

He wrote: “Mr Mourinho, just a little question. Was that still OK for you? We loved it. Sorry, we have to leave you now. We have a quarter-final to prepare for.”

The L’Equipe columnist Didier Roustin also spoke of the Chelsea match as an “act of foundation” for PSG’s ambitions to become one of Europe’s top clubs.

The club’s Qatari owners, who took over in 2010, have set 2018 as the target for PSG to become the first French club to win the top  European prize since Marseilles’ bribery-tarnished victory in 1993.

After Monaco’s 3-1 away victory over Arsenal at the Emirates last week, French clubs are no longer junior partners in the Champions League. But several press commentators pointed out that foreign billions have placed the two clubs in a category of their own. Since the relative decline of Lyons, no other French club can begin to compete in European competition.

On the Le Monde website, two writers took different views on whether PSG’s 2-2 draw after extra-time should be defined as “an exploit”. To justify covering sport, which it once refused to do, Le Monde likes to adopt a jokey but academic tone.

Clément Guillou said that it was evidently an exploit. The proof was that a football-mad friend, who  supports Bordeaux, had sent him a text during the match saying: “Bloody hell, I’m supporting PSG.”

In a rival article, Yann Bouchez said the fact that everyone was talking about an “exploit” proved that PSG was still a small club in European terms.

He asked: “What word will we use if Laurent Blanc’s men reach the final after eliminating Bayern and Barça?”

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