Picking the Best PSG XI of Players Born in Paris

Andrew Gibney@@gibney_aFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2016

Picking the Best PSG XI of Players Born in Paris

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    Xavier Laine/Getty Images

    One of the biggest selling points for Qatari Sports Investment when they took charge of PSG in 2011 was to promote their own youth products.

    The departure of Mamadou Sakho to Liverpool and the decision not to play Kingsley Coman before he left for Juventus seemed to go against this.

    In fact, throughout history, PSG’s best players rarely come through the academy, and despite the amount of French talent that has pulled on the famous blue jersey, not many of them were born in the French capital.

    Hatem Ben Arfa’s free signing from OGC Nice sees the club up its quota of locals, but to compile an XI from players who have featured for the club and were born in Paris is not an easy task.

    Let us know what you think, and please comment if anyone has been glaringly missed.

Goalkeeper: Alphonse Areola

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    Areola could be the long-term Number 1 in Paris.
    Areola could be the long-term Number 1 in Paris.Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

    When thinking about goalkeepers, PSG fans would instantly think of legendary shot-stoppers like Joel Bats, Mickael Landreau and Bernard Lama, but none of them were born in the capital.

    Recently, PSG have relied on the talents of Salvatore Sirigu and Kevin Trapp, but after returning this season from a loan spell at Villarreal, Alphonse Areola should have a chance at winning starts under Unai Emery.

    He’s only played 104 minutes in the league for the club, but his potential and achievements with France’s youth setup put him well ahead of everything Nicolas Douchez managed during his five-year spell.

Right-Back: Jean-Michel Badiane

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    Badiane (left) playing against Monaco
    Badiane (left) playing against MonacoGetty Images

    If it wasn't for the left-back, this team could have easily played with a back three. However, the job of finding a right-back wasn't easy.

    Bernard Mendy and Christophe Jallet weren't born in the capital, and recent stars like Gregory van der Wiel, Serge Aurier and Ceara aren't even French.

    Step up, Jean-Michel Badiane, who made just 10 league appearances for PSG. Coming through the youth ranks, he would finally make his debut in 2004 away at Toulouse.

    He only started twice that season, coming off the bench four times. He made three appearances the season after before moving to Sedan when they won promotion to Ligue 1.

    Far from a classic player in his position, but he's the best of very few options.

Centre-Back: Mamadou Sakho

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    Sakho is still a huge fan favourite in Paris.
    Sakho is still a huge fan favourite in Paris.John Berry/Getty Images

    A fan-favourite, a club legend and a man who bleeds Parisian blood.

    Mamadou Sakho is a boyhood fan who went on to become the youngest-ever club captain.

    A hero for club and country, it was a sad day when the centre-back was sold to Liverpool. It’s hard to argue that in Thiago Silva and Marquinhos they now have two better defenders, but no one would put in as much heart and effort than the man from the city suburbs.

Centre-Back: Jean-Marc Pilorget

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    Pilorget went on to coach in the French leagues.
    Pilorget went on to coach in the French leagues.Getty Images

    Jean-Marc Pilorget is not a name that falls off the tongues of PSG fans. However, no one in the history of the club has made more appearances than Pilorget, with 435 games.

    Back in 1986, when PSG won the title, the centre-back was the only outfield player to start every single game. He also won the Coupe de France twice, in 1982 and 1983.

    After 12 years at the club, he would move to AS Cannes and then EA Guingamp. His influence can still be felt in the modern game, as he has been coaching since 1992—most recently at AS Cannes and Frejus Saint-Raphael in the regional divisions.

Left-Back: Didier Domi

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    Domi impressed down the left for PSG.
    Domi impressed down the left for PSG.Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Didier Domi won't be as fondly remembered by Newcastle United fans, but it was his performances for PSG that earned him that €6 million move to the north-east in 1999.

    Domi had two spells at the club, but the second was plagued by injury. Before moving to England, the left-back helped the club win the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue in 1998, plus he played a huge part as the club tried to defend their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup trophy in 1997.

    He played in the 3-0 semi-final win against Liverpool and then started in the final against Barcelona.

    A solid left-back with a good ability to get forward. He never quite made it to the national team, but he was a solid pro and a great option for the Parisians.

Defensive Midfield: Frederic Dehu

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    Dehu protecting the defence against Bordeaux.
    Dehu protecting the defence against Bordeaux.Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    After playing nearly 300 games for RC Lens, Frederic Dehu made a surprising move to Barcelona.

    Injury hampered his chances under Louis van Gaal, and after just a season, he moved to PSG. Initially used as a centre-back, he found his best form under Luis Fernandez playing as a defensive midfielder. He formed a great partnership with Mikel Arteta at that time.

    A leader and a former captain, he will sadly be remembered for his move to Marseille in 2004. It was announced on the eve of the club winning the 2004 Coupe de France trophy, and the player was booed by his own fans.

Defensive Midfield: Adrien Rabiot

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    Rabiot against Metz last weekend.
    Rabiot against Metz last weekend.Xavier Laine/Getty Images

    Some may have expected Blaise Matuidi to appear on this list, but despite growing up in the French capital, the France international was born in Toulouse.

    Adrien Rabiot was born in the southern suburb of Saint-Maurice, and despite moving to Manchester City as a kid, he has found his way back to the Parisians.

    He's classy midfielder, with his curly hair flowing in the wind. Over the past two seasons, he has begun to show what all the fuss is about.

    He should go on to make his 100th appearance this season, and if he stays at the club, he could go on to become a PSG legend. It’s really up to Rabiot to decide how far he wants to go.

Right-Midfield: Jeremy Menez

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    Menez breaking down the wing against Reims.
    Menez breaking down the wing against Reims.Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

    After another spell in Italy, Jeremy Menez is back in France playing for Bordeaux, giving us a glimpse of what he was capable of when he appeared at the Parc des Princes. 

    One of the most frustratingly talented players to grace Ligue 1, the midfielder scored seven goals and added 12 assists in his first season in Paris.

    With the biggest criticism being that he nearly got his head up, it's worth wondering what he was actually capable of achieving.

Attacking Midfield: Hatem Ben Arfa

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    Ben Arfa making his home debut against Metz.
    Ben Arfa making his home debut against Metz.Xavier Laine/Getty Images

    Ben Arfa comes into attacking midfield in this XI despite being new to the squad and yet to really achieve anything with PSG.

    However, after his season with Nice last term, there is a newfound excitement around the 29-year-old.

    A former France international, he was once beloved by Newcastle United fans, although not then-manager Alan Pardew. There is a lot of pressure on his shoulders to perform under Unai Emery this season.

    This is his best chance to thrive on the biggest stage; the fans really do hope that he becomes a local hero.

Left-Midfield: Jerome Rothen

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    Rothen was a great option down the left flank.
    Rothen was a great option down the left flank.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    The “French David Beckham” had to make this list. The biggest moments of his career may have come at AS Monaco, but Jerome Rothen had it all to make it to the very top. Well, perhaps just not the pace.

    Long, floppy blond hair, a tremendous left-foot and deadly from set-pieces, he really was France’s answer to the Manchester United and brief PSG legend. 

    He won the Couple de France in 2006 and the Coupe de la Ligue two years’ later. The midfielder played 135 league games for the club, scoring 10 times, and he then went on to win Ligue 2 Player of the Year, helping SC Bastia win promotion back to the top flight.

Centre-Forward: Nicolas Anelka

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    Anelka back watching his former club.
    Anelka back watching his former club.Xavier Laine/Getty Images

    Born to the west of the city in Le Chesnay, Nicolas Anelka only managed 10 games initially before moving to Arsenal.

    He would return after a spell with Real Madrid in 2000, scoring 10 goals in two seasons before leaving the capital once again.

    The striker did not show his very best for PSG, and while not on the level of superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, when on form, Anelka was a fearsome prospect for defenders to face.

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