Following Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-0 victory over Nice at the Parc des Princes on Sunday, Carlo Ancelotti’s side are edging towards their third-ever French title. However, it would be their first in 19 years and the first piece of silverware under the ownership of Qatar Sports Investments.
In the wake of the capital club’s Coupe de France exit at the hands of Evian last week, it is also the only potential trophy victory that PSG can enjoy this season. Slow but steady growth, though, is something that arguably will ensure that QSI’s love affair with the perennial Ligue 1 underachievers remains something long-lasting.
With PSG maintaining their nine-point lead over second-place Marseille with the victory over Claude Puel’s side, two more wins would make sure of the title. Ancelotti’s men also look to have gotten over their shock humbling in Annecy and Les Parisiens are now looking stronger than at any point, so far, under QSI.
What would a PSG triumph mean for Ligue 1?
Immediately, it would garner PSG some much-needed respect. The ambitious project put into place by the owners and sporting director Leonardo has already captured the attention of football fans and the media across Europe. What Les Rouge-et-Bleu need to back that up, though, is some sort of tangible domestic success and then dominance.
One of the most surprising things about PSG’s rapid ascent to becoming one of Europe’s biggest names is their relative lack of domestic success in terms of title numbers until now. It will take a long time for the side from the capital to establish a domestic hegemony as strong as Jean-Michel Aulas’ Lyon side who won seven straight Ligue 1 titles in the early 2000s, but PSG have that capability.
They need to win just one to start with, though, to gain some immediate credibility. No matter how good your team is on paper and how many star talents you boast individually, you can’t be considered the best team in the country until you have won the domestic league title.
Ancelotti’s side now look unassailable at the summit in France, and that victory when it comes (as it looks likely) takes a big weight off the club’s shoulders.
Secondly, it enhances the profile of Ligue 1 if PSG are the champions this season because the league needs its most glamorous club to be winning titles. The two-time champions will bring Le Championnat more attention next season as reigning title holders, assuming that they make waves in the European transfer window during the summer as you'd imagine they will.
The fact that it has been such a struggle to reach this point proves to PSG and to other European sides, fans and players, that Ligue 1 is a very strong and competitive domestic competition.
That fight for the title will have convinced PSG of the need to strengthen their squad from within France’s borders this summer, starting the inevitable (and much-needed) process of weakening their domestic rivals who have run them close this campaign. That process will guarantee Le Championnat's future growth as the capital club's enviable wealth trickles down through the top flight.
Crucially, the victory would give every member of the squad involved in this campaign a taste of success. Finally, the players who had not won a domestic title to-date in the squad, Blaise Matuidi for example, will have sown the seed that will drive them to future silverware.
Before Ancelotti arrived in the capital, there was no appetite for success, nothing to aspire to beating in current terms (all members of PSG’s last title-winning and successful European side are long gone) save for a few domestic cup successes. The club were and still are, until the title win is official, a sleeping giant.
The experience of playing alongside the likes of Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham will be a career-high moment for all members of the squad, domestic-based or not. Sharing their joy at ultimate success will drive them on with a hunger for further glory and a desire to come close to the level of success that these stellar names have enjoyed elsewhere in their careers.
A first Ligue 1 title in the new era is the start of what should turn into a legacy. There is no excuse for PSG not to go on and dominate French football for the years to come.
That is not to say that the league won’t remain competitive, there is too much quality there for that not to happen. But Ancelotti’s side need to dominate the domestic landscape, at least for the next few years, if French football is to ever stand any real chance of catching up with its European rivals.
This season’s title is the first block that will form the foundations of that future success.