Last updated on October 12th, 2022
Paris Saint-Germain reached their first UEFA Champions League Final after beating RB Leipzig 3 goals to 0 in a one-leg semi-final in 2020. While the city rejoiced and the players celebrated like they had won the trophy, the rest of the world was desperately hoping that Bayern Munich could beat them in the finals, which the Bavarians eventually did with a close 1-0 victory.
Excluding PSG fans, the Parisian side does not receive much support. Simply said, most fans would be much happier rooting for PSG’s opposition in any given match!
One thing is for sure, this has not always been the case for Paris Saint-Germain. It draws us back to the question that will be answered in the following article, a deep dive into why PSG is so hated.
#1 Lack of history
A short crash course on Paris Saint Germain’s history would go a long way in understanding why the club is hated not only by the French but also by international football fans.
Paris is the capital city of France, a spot where the country’s most elite live and socialise. That being said, Paris did not have a proper football club to represent themselves until 1970, when a consortium of businessmen decided to merge Paris FC and Stade Saint-Germain.
PSG did not directly come out as a strong side, but it was a perfect club to symbolise Paris and its owner. As expected, it attracted local fans and the club started receiving a constant wave of support.
Paris Saint-Germain won their first major trophy 12 years after being introduced as a new club, winning the French Cup back-to-back in 1982 and 1983. From then on PSG started establishing themself in France by winning their first league title in 1986.
PSG was a decent club in hindsight, not underperforming and winning a few titles every couple of years, but that’s about it. Long before the Parisians were even an entity, football clubs such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Manchester United were making their mark on the International stage.
That explains the lack of history that PSG has, but it is surely not a strong enough reason to hate on a club, at least not until you get through the next reasons.
#2 Qatari money
After a few stints of success in decades of mediocrity, Paris Saint-Germain was acquired by Qatar Sports Investment in June 2011, led by President Nasser Al Khelaif. Upon taking ownership of the club, Nasser Al Khelaif made a bold statement saying that they will win the UEFA Champions League in the next 5 years, which of course did not come to fruition.
Despite not being able to reach his ultimate goal of winning the Champions League, Nasser Al Khelaif quickly won the heart of the Parisians. Superstars including David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, and Maxwell were welcomed to Paris, which started the revolution for PSG.
Nasser Al Khelaif also made a promise to find the next Lionel Messi, which he took very seriously. Young talents like Marquinhos and Marco Verratti were signed by the club and ended up being key players until today.
Yes, PSG spent a lot for those players, but they are not necessarily the biggest spenders in Europe. Research by Statista showed that PSG is still behind Manchester United and fellow Qatari-owned Manchester City in terms of net transfer since 2012.
PSG is hated for spending a lot of money, which is normal considering how rivalry works in football. That being said, the club is especially disliked because they are owned by ultra-rich Qatari owners, just like how people dislike Manchester City.
Additionally, record-breaking signings such as Kylian Mbappe for $215m and Neymar Jr for $263m surely did not help their case!
#3 Turning Ligue 1 into a “Farmers League”
Nasser Al Khelaif has done wonders for both Paris Saint Germain and Ligue 1 since his arrival with Qatar Sports Investment. The Parisian side went on to win 8 Ligue 1 trophies and 6 Coupe de France, often dominating the league table way before the end of the season.
For Ligue 1, PSG has attracted some of football’s biggest superstars. Not just Mbappe and Neymar, PSG also signed David Beckham, Edinson Cavani, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, and arguably the greatest of all time, Lionel Messi.
Unfortunately for Ligue 1, PSG’s dominance in the last decade has turned the French league into a “farmers league. A league in which legendary French clubs such as AS Saint-Ettiene and Olympique Marseille used to compete in a fierce rivalry has turned into a one horse race.
There are rare cases where clubs like AS Monaco (2017) and Lille OSC (2021) managed to topple PSG’s sheer dominance, but that has only happened twice since Paris Saint Germain’s first league trophy under Qatar Sports Investment in 2013.
To worsen things up is the Parisian’s track record in the UEFA Champions League. PSG has only made it once to the UEFA Champions League final and still never won the trophy despite such an elite and expensive squad. This does not represent Ligue 1 well considering how dominant they have been in the domestic scene.
You can find out how Ligue 1 differs from the Premier League here.
It does seem like Qatari money is the main factor on why Paris Saint Germain is so hated, but the fact that they have been the most dominant French side in the past 10 years is also a key factor.
Until another French club can compete with the Parisian both on and off the field, it is safe to say that the animosity will not be reduced anytime soon!
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