Despite losing their Spanish La Liga crown to bitter rivals Real Madrid and their Champions League trophy to Chelsea, Lionel Messi and co. of Barcelona could have a new rival for European glory in the form of moneybags Paris St. Germain.
The Ligue 1 side have been undergoing a Manchester City-esque renaissance since being purchased by Qatar Investment Authority in 2011, having splashed out on big name players such as Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi in recent years.
The latest big money signings are Milan pair Thiago Silva and former Barca man Zlatan Ibrahimovic, bought for an estimated combined €60 million in July, the latter of whom was in action as the French side took on Barcelona in a pre season friendly.
Spanish youngster Rafinha Alcantara scored an early goal for the Blaugrana before the mercurial Messi stepped up to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot, cooly converting despite the best efforts of the PSG fans to distract him by shining lasers in his eyes.
However, even the trickery of the Argentinean wizard, hot favourite to be crowned Ballon D’Or winner for a third consecutive year, could not prevent the hosts from fighting back, with goals from Swede Ibrahimovic and substitute Zoumana Camara pegging the Catalan side back to 2-2.
However the Trophee de Paris match was not to end as a draw, eventually being settled by a penalty shootout which Barcelona won 5-4. Nevertheless, the affluent team from the French capital ran them very close, Barcelona rarely seemed their usual explosive selves in the second half.
Last season saw a bump in the form of Barcelona for the first time in the reign of Pep Guardiola, even with Messi’s incredible achievement of scoring 50 league goals, 72 in all competitions.
New coach Tito Villanova will need his star man to repeat these heroics if Barcelona are going to fight off the challenge of Real Madrid, the Premier League giants, and a potential new rival in the form of PSG, to bring the league and European trophies back to the Nou Camp.