Paris Saint-Germain set for title party at Parc des Princes
Paris Saint-Germain come into Wednesday’s fixture at home to beaten cup finalists Rennes with one clear aim: sewing up the Ligue 1 title.
The big-spending Parisians could have already snared a fourth Ligue 1 crown but a draw at Sochaux on April 27 saw them miss out.
However, it has allowed them the chance of sealing the title at their Parc des Princes home, which will undoubtedly have a party atmosphere on Wednesday should PSG prove successful.
And adding to the festive feel, star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in line to make his return from a hamstring strain.
And there is no reason to assume the game will go any other way against a Rennes side who lost 2-0 to Guingamp in Saturday’s Coupe de France final, but who are fighting for their lives, sitting just three points above the relegation zone.
PSG have had an extra few days off after this fixture was postponed from the weekend as Rennes were involved in the Cup final.
But that has not meant things have been plain-sailing, with press speculation claiming that record signing Edinson Cavani could be bound for the English Premier League with both Manchester United and Chelsea mooted as possible destinations
There has also been talk of AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini becoming the club’s new sporting director, a post that has been empty this season following Brazilian Leonardo’s departure in June after he was handed a lengthy 12-month ban for barging a referee.
The French champions have not commented on the rumour, preferring to focus on Wednesday’s match, but Maldini himself told BeIN SPORTS, who are owned by the same Qatari family that owns PSG, that the club does not need him, nor a sporting director.
Meanwhile, things are not entirely tranquil at PSG’s only remaining title rivals Monaco.
Despite a stunning first season back in the French top flight, in which they are guaranteed a top two finish -- and consequently a place in next season’s Champions League group stages -- there remains uncertainty over coach Claudio Ranieri’s future, with just one year left on his contract.
Not that Ranieri seems worried.
“I think this week I will speak (with club officials) to set up a meeting,” said the Italian.
“Now that we’re assured of second place, things should speed up.
“But the more time that passes, the more sure I am of one thing, although I’ll keep that to myself.
“What is certain is that I will be coaching next season,” he added somewhat ambiguously.
However, he was keen to remind his bosses just how well he thinks he has done this season.
“I have a contract (until June 2015). The management know what I’ve done, we’ve had a great season,” he said.
“I think I’ve done a very, very, very good job this season! It’s not easy to come up from the second division and have the season we’ve had.”
Barring an unlikely turnaround, Monaco will finish second.
They host Guingamp, themselves desperate for points as they sit just one point above the relegation places, on Wednesday but trail PSG by eight points with just three games remaining.
And as PSG have a vastly superior goal difference (plus-15) Monaco would almost certainly need to win their remaining three games and see PSG lose all three of theirs in order to snatch the title, something Ranieri is not banking on.
“I’ve said it before, only PSG can lose the title. I just want us to win our last three games, without thinking about PSG,” he said.
Monaco v Guingamp, Paris Saint-Germain v Rennes
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Published: May 6, 2014 04:00 AM