Skip to content

Blaise Matuidi will lead PSG to new Champions League heights

Feb 18, 2014, 7:51 PM EDT

Matuidi AP

I love watching Zlatan just as much as the rest of you.

He’s really one of the most electric players out there, without a doubt, and would qualify as a pure gamechanger.

But as much fun as he is to watch, and as vital as his goalhawking is (with his brace today he has 10 of PSG’s last 15 away goals in the Champions League) he’s not the French giants’ most important player.

I know, I know, that’s blasphemy, but bear with me.

Despite Zlatan’s spark, the designation must go to the man who gets about 1/1000th of the credit, but makes the team churn – Blaise Matuidi.

In a match where PSG got off to a explosive start and didn’t look back, the 26-year-old midfielder was the linchpin in Les Parisians whirring mechanism.

Taking a look at the first goal, and you see all you need to know about his work rate. Matuidi intercepts the ball on the right touchline, seeing the pass well before Simon Rolfes even knew he was going to attempt it. Then, after dishing to Gregory Van der Wiel, he doesn’t power down his afterburners until he gets the ball back and puts it in the back of the net, shielding off Roberto Hilbert to create space for his run.

Later, Matuidi does all the hard work to construct the foundation for PSG’s third goal, the foundation on which Ibrahimovic – as he has so often this year – builds a masterpiece atop.

source: Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the face of PSG, but Blaise Matuidi is their workhorse.

The Toulouse product braced himself against both Omer Toprak and Emir Spahic (who had a nightmarish performance), attempting to make something for himself before realizing he was out of options.  He went to ground but remained calm, reaching out and finding his Swedish superstar at the last possible moment for a special finish.

Matuidi eventually came off in the 67th minute, with Laurent Blanc not wishing to risk a second yellow for his most important player already ahead 3-0.

This match, however, is just one small example of Matuidi’s brilliance this year in the French Ligue 1 and beyond.

According to Squawka statistics, Matuidi has a 92% pass completion rate, including a sparkling 86% (57/66) on long balls. His superb strength also helps him defensively, completing 64% of his tackles successfully in the midfield.

In today’s match, he wasn’t needed defensively as much with PSG dominating possession until Matuidi’s exit (not a coincidence).  However, he still chipped in with a successful tackle in his only attempt, as well as three interceptions, two blocked crosses, and a successful clearance.

And while his numbers in Ligue 1 play are great, he leaves his A+ game for the biggest stage – with today, he now has a goal and three assists in the Champions League, while racking up three goals and two assists in 24 Ligue 1 matches.

Ibrahimovic may get all the international headlines, highlight videos, press coverage, and fan love – and rightly so, the guy’s both a beast on the pitch and marketable off it – but Blaise Matuidi’s importance to this PSG side cannot, and should not, be understated.

With Matuidi’s guidance (along with Marco Verrati’s service and, obviously, Ibra’s flair), this team has the very real possibility of finding themselves in the Champions League final four, no question possessing the potential to shock the world with an upset or two along the way.

It’s a bit late, but I’m officially on the PSG bandwagon, and you should be too.

Latest Posts
  1. Reports: RBNY adds young Argentine DP as MLS transfer surge continues

    Aug 4, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT

    MARRAKECH, MOROCCO - DECEMBER 17: Gonzalo Veron (L) of San Lorenzo in action with Ivan Vicelich of Auckland City during the FIFA Club World Cup Semi Final match between CA San Lorenzo and Auckland City FC at Marrakech Stadium on December 17, 2014 in Marrakech, Morocco. (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A winger, Veron scored eight times in 52 appearances for Argentine power San Lorenzo.

  2. Cascadia Cup banter between Sounders, Timbers hits toilet levels; Seattle avoids “Peay” joke

    Aug 4, 2015, 9:09 PM EDT

    Dempsey AP

    Full marks to the Sounders for not pointing out that Portland has a player named Peay.

  3. Reports: Mexico meets with Marseille coach Bielsa; Is this El Tri’s next boss?

    Aug 4, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    Marseille's Argentinian head coach Marcelo Bielsa looks on during the French Ligue 1 football  match between Lille and Marseille on May 16, 2015 at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Lille, northern France. AFP PHOTO /  DENIS CHARLET        (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    L’Equipe says FMF representatives met with Bielsa’s people on Tuesday morning and France, and that Bielsa is interested.

  4. Qatari foreign minister promises “best World Cup” ever, says human rights changes will come

    Aug 4, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah gives a press conference following his meeting with his Tunisian counterpart, Taieb Baccouche, in Tunis on June 4, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID        (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The “end of the year” promise could be the real deal, but the nation has certainly taken its time.

  5. PST Extra: Who are the Premier League’s top offseason acquisitions so far? (video)

    Aug 4, 2015, 6:22 PM EDT

    Andre Ayew of Swansea City Getty Images

    The transfer window hasn’t closed, but a lot of the names who’ve climbed through it have us salivating for Saturday’s start to the Premier League season.

  6. Benitez expects Bale and Benzema to stay at the Bernabeu

    Aug 4, 2015, 5:33 PM EDT

    <> at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 5, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Getty Images

    Keeping Bale and Benzema around will keep Madrid among the favorites for the UEFA Champions League, as the giants search for Undecima.

  7. Premier League defenders: Who’s in our Top Five? And how to choose just five?

    Aug 4, 2015, 4:47 PM EDT

    Everton v Tottenham Hotspur - Barclays Premier League Getty Images

    Picking a group of five defenders is way more difficult than selecting the best goalkeepers in the league.

  8. On the move again: McInerney shipped to Columbus for a draft pick

    Aug 4, 2015, 4:13 PM EDT

    TORONTO, ON- MAY 13  - Toronto FC defender Eriq Zavaleta undresses Jack McInerney as Toronto FC plays Montreal Impact in the Semi-Final of the Amway Canadian Championship  at BMO Field  in Toronto.  May 13, 2015.        (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) Getty Images

    McInerney, however, has disappointed in recent seasons. Perhaps a change in leader, albeit for the second time, will help.

  9. Report: Manchester City sells Edin Dzeko to AS Roma for $21 million

    Aug 4, 2015, 3:19 PM EDT

    Manchester City v Sunderland - Barclays Asia Trophy Final Getty Images

    At Roma, Dzeko will join a loaded attack which includes Mattia Destro, Victor Ibarbo and Seydou Doumbia, as well as Francesco Totti.

  10. Maps, rivals, stadiums: Location of all 20 Premier League teams for 2015-16 season

    Aug 4, 2015, 2:08 PM EDT

    Aerial Views Of Central London Getty Images

    Ever wonder where the games you’re watching on TV are taking place? Here’s a guide to help you out.

  11. CONCACAF Champions League returns: Five MLS teams eye continental glory

    Aug 4, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    CONCACAF Champions League Final - 2nd Leg - Club America v Montreal Impact CONCACAF Champions League Final - 2nd Leg - Club America v Montreal Impact

    D.C. United, LA Galaxy, RSL, Vancouver and Seattle fly the MLS flag as they look to break Liga MX’s stronghold.

  12. A televised coin flip will decide which team hosts the 2015 U.S. Open Cup final

    Aug 4, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT

    US Open Cup trophy Getty Images

    This coin toss is a really, really big deal for the four teams left in the competition.

  13. On his way out of PSG, should Arsenal or Manchester United sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

    Aug 4, 2015, 12:20 PM EDT

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic AP

    Should a PL giant hand Zlatan a chance to strut his stuff in England’s top-flight?

  14. Jose Mourinho praises Chelsea’s Premier League title rivals, talks Abramovich

    Aug 4, 2015, 10:24 AM EDT

    Crystal Palace v Chelsea Getty Images

    Blues boss hugely complimentary of the PL’s other big boys heading into the new season.

  15. VIDEO: Watch Men In Blazers’ season premiere in full, featuring “The 2 Robbies”

    Aug 4, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    MIB with the 2 Robbies

    Rog, Davo, Mustoe and Earle hang out in the panic room and preview the upcoming PL season.

  16. AZ Alkmaar agree to sell USMNT forward Aron Johannsson to Werder Bremen

    Aug 4, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT

    Dutch Eredivisie - "AZ Alkmaar v Vitesse Arnhem" Getty Images

    Dutch club reach “agreement in outline” with Bundesliga side Bremen for AJ.

  17. Reports: Manchester United submitted two bids for Gareth Bale over $110 million

    Aug 3, 2015, 9:28 PM EDT

    Bale Getty Images

    Apparently Louis van Gaal really, really wants Gareth Bale on his team.

  18. Report: AZ Alkmaar speaking with Werder Bremen about Aron Johannsson

    Aug 3, 2015, 7:55 PM EDT

    Johannsson Getty Images

    Could the USMNT forward be thinking about a move to the Bundesliga?

Featured video

Top 5 new guys in the Premier League