Anelka backs PSG for Champions League glory ahead of Man Utd clash

Thomas Tuchel’s side are looking to make the quarter-finals when they host the Red Devils, and their one-time player believes they can lift the trophy

Former Paris Saint-Germain forward Nicolas Anelka believes that the Ligue 1 holders will win the Champions League this season, despite their early struggles in the group stages.

Thomas Tuchel’s side have never lifted Europe’s most prestigious club trophy and have not reached the semi-finals for the competition for close to a quarter-century, last making the final four in 1995.

Save for a 6-1 thrashing of Red Star Belgrade, they failed to fire in the early stages of this season’s edition too, taking only five points from their first four games.

They required a pair of victories in their final two matches to edge out last year’s beaten finalists Liverpool into first-place in Group C.

They did however produce a dominant display in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie to defeat Manchester United away from home, with Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe netting the goals in a 2-0 win.

Now, ahead of their return fixture in Paris, retired France legend Anelka, who currently coaches in the youth set-up at Ligue 1 rivals Lille, has backed his former club to not just progress to the next round but to break their European duck and win the tournament in Madrid on June 1.

Speaking in Pakistan , the 39-year-old, who lifted the trophy in 2000 with Real Madrid, stated: “I said practically at the beginning, when they were in trouble in the group, that they would win the Champions League.”

Referring to their less-than-auspicious start, he added: “It’s in these moments that we find the soul of a team. That’s how you bring together a group.”

Throughout a near-two-decade career, Anelka picked up top-flight titles in three separate countries, including Premier League wins with Arsenal and Chelsea, while picking up a European Championship title with France too.

He famously saw his penalty saved in the shootout of the 2008 Champions League final while playing for the Blues, to hand Manchester United the title.

In addition to their European campaign, PSG remain in the hunt for a prospective treble, leading Ligue 1 and having sealed a semi-final berth in the Coupe de France last month against Dijon.

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