The five best PSG players before the Qatari takeoverOnce Qatar-based ownership took over Paris Saint-Germain, the French changed forever. Now they were one of the teams with the biggest financial resources in the world and made use of that by bringing a lot of top-class talent and international names to boost their profiles. In the last decade, Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr., Kylian Mbappé, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria, and many more have played in PSG.
However, despite the fact the club was founded in 1970, which is fairly recent when compared to most football teams, PSG had their history before the Qatari takeover. They had won the league in the past and even reached a UEFA Champions League semifinal in 1995. So, who were the five best PSG players before the Qatari takeover? Let's find out.
Ronaldinho - here in the Brazil national team
5. Ronaldinho (2001-2003)Now, Ronaldinho perhaps didn't influence PSG's history as much as the four other players on this list, but his time in the French capital cannot be understated. He was signed from Gremio, one of the biggest clubs in Brazil, in 2001, thus making this team his first chance in European football.
Even though he was only there for two seasons, Ronaldinho showed the world what he was made of, delivering the many different skills, tricks, dribbling, passing, and sheer pace that made him one of the best-attacking players in the world in the coming years. There have been very few occasions when Ligue 1 had one of the best young talents in world football and Ronaldinho was exactly that.
Considering his legacy in the game and how he became a fan-favorite thanks to his magical playing style, Ronaldinho deserves a place on this list.
4. George Weah (1992-1995)The people of Canal+ had injected money into PSG, which is ironic considering the situation with the Qatari takeover a few years later. It goes to show how this club has always been connected with this kind of investment.
Regardless, this situation led to the club investing a lot more money in signings to compete at a higher level, and one of the most important happened in 1992 when they signed Liberian star George Weah from AS Monaco. This would prove to be a major catalyst for the Parisian club and Weah himself.
The Liberian would arguably have the best form of his career in Paris, leading the club to win the 1993/94 Ligue 1 title and also reaching the 1994/95 UEFA Champions League semifinals, which was their best performance in the competition until they reached the 2019/20 final, losing to Bayern Munich.
Weah is one of the greatest African footballers of all time and the only one to ever win the Ballon d'Or, which he did in 1995 mostly due to his performances with PSG, even though he was an AC Milan player when he won the accolade.
3. Sylvain Armand (2004-2013)Sylvain Armand is sadly a forgotten name for people outside the PSG fandom. It is very sad because this is a left-back that played 377 with Paris Saint-Germain and did so for nine years, becoming their captain and one of their biggest symbols. Perhaps he isn't as notorious as other players on this list, but he was a very consistent performer for the French club.
One of the things that also make Armand stand out from the rest is the fact that he had to endure a lot of ups and down with this club. While PSG had their heyday back in the mid-90s and later on had the Qatari investment, the mid-2000s and early 2010s were a period of struggles and financial disarray for the institution and yet Armand remained there, showing a lot of loyalty to the club.
In fact, Armand was highly-regarded by almost any person that played or worked with him, which was shown in the first two seasons of the Qatari takeover where he was still playing regularly despite the massive investments and his own age, which is saying a lot. The fact he won the 2012/13 Ligue 1 title, playing alongside the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Beckham, and more, goes to show how rated he was.
One of the most important and more underrated Paris Saint-Germain players of all time and he deserves a lot more recognition within this club.
2. Raí (1993-1998)When push comes to shove, Brazilian midfielder Raí is one of the most players in the club's history. This is taking into account the recent years with the Qatari takeover: while nowadays is very easy for PSG to win domestic trophies, back in the nineties it was not, thus making Raí's contributions all the more important. He was key to the club's success during those years.
The Brazilian was signed in 1993 from Sao Paulo, a club from Raí's country where he won pretty much everything, and would go on to win the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States with his national team. However, it was during his five years in the French capital that he became a symbol of the institution.
Raí was, along with Weah, instrumental in winning the 1993/94 Ligue 1 title, reaching the 1994/95 UEFA Champions League semifinals, winning the 1995/96 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (their first international trophy and scored twice in the second leg to win the trophy), and also winning the 1997/98 Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France, with Raí scoring in both finals.
He was a very talented player and one that showed up for PSG when it mattered.
1. Pauleta (2003-2008)Pauleta is arguably the most known player that has been associated with PSG before the Qatari takeover. This doesn't mean he is more famous than, say, Ronaldinho, but the latter is more associated with FC Barcelona and AC Milan. Pauleta is definitely a lot more associated with the Parisian club.
The Portuguese striker arrived in 2003 and went on to become their best-ever striker before the Qatari investment, which is also proven by the fact that he became their highest-ever goalscorer with 109 goals in 212 matches. That was an amazing production for a footballer that was playing for a club that was usually in crisis.
Definitely, the best player PSG had before 2011 when taking into account how well he performed and how long he was at the club.