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PSG to play Chelsea in quarter finals

Paris Saint-Germain will play Chelsea in the last eight of the Champions League after the big spending Paris club were draw against the English team in Friday's draw. If PSG win the Champions League their players will each pick up a record €1 million bonus.

PSG to play Chelsea in quarter finals
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and co will line up against Chelsea in the quarter finals of the Champions League. Photo: AFP

Laurent Blanc's PSG side face a tough task against Chelsea in the quarter finals of the Champions League.

The French club, bidding to win the competition for the first time were paired with the Premier League leaders in Friday's draw. 

Barcelona will play Athletico Madrid, Real Madrid will play Dortmund and Man United will play Bayern Munich.

Both team's will probably be happy with the draw after avoiding favourites Bayern Munich and the Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The tie sets up a mouth-watering clash between PSG's star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and England stalwart John Terry, who will also have the job of stopping PSG's other stellar forward Edinson Cavani.

Jose Mourinho's team will be favourite's on paper to get through to the semi final's as the Portuguese bids to win the competition with three different clubs, after winning the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan.

Laurent Blanc, however will be quietly confident that with Ibrahimovic, Cavani and Brazilian Lucas, he has the weapons to pose Chelseea a few problems or two.

The first leg will take place at the Parc des Prines in Paris on 1/2nd of April with the return leg a week later on April 8/9th.

Such is their desire to win their first Champions League trophy, PSG's owners, QSI (Qatar Sports Investments' are offering an eye-watering €1-million bonus to each player if they manage to triumph in the final in Lisbon on May 24th.

That would represent the biggest bonuses ever paid out in the history of football, French newspaper L'Equipe claimed this week.

The previous highest bonuses handed out were in the region of €800,000 (£667,000, $1.1m) that Bayern Munich players pocketed for their Champions League triumph last season as well as winning the German title and German Cup.

With a squad of 25 players for the Champions League, the club's president Nasser al Khelaifi could be looking at a total payout of around €25 million, although it is not clear whether only first team regulars would qualify for the €1 million jackpot.

According to French sports daily L'Équipe, PSG’s star striker, the Sweden international Zlatan Ibrahimovic, negotiated the bonus with Khelaifi.

Ibrahimovic is clearly not short of cash after he was listed in the world’s top five richest players this week.

To put that in perspective the windfall up for grabs for PSG’s players, including Uruguayan Edinson Cavani and Brazil’s Thiago Silva, is double that on the table for the players of Spanish giant’s Real Madrid.

PSG’s players are however no strangers to receiving big bonuses.

Last year the team, which then included England’s David Beckham were handed €240,000 for getting to the quarter finals of the Champions League, where they were knocked out by Barcelona.

They also pocketed €400,000 each for winning the league, which PSG look likely to do again this year after building up an eight-point lead over fellow mega-rich club Monaco.

PSG’s Qatari owners are desperate to see the Paris club join Europe’s elite like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

One thing that would no doubt thrust the club into the big time is winning the Champions League. 

But they will have to get past Chelsea first.

What do you think? Can they do it?

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FOOTBALL

‘Not football’s job’ to combat homophobia: French football chief

The head of French football has pulled away from a hardline stance against homophobic chanting and banners in stadiums on Friday, saying that "too many matches" have been stopped due to anti-gay abuse.

'Not football's job' to combat homophobia: French football chief
Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Noel Le Graet, president of the French Football Federation (FFF), said that the FFF would not instruct referees to stop matches except in cases when a “whole stadium” was guilty of homophobic chanting.

“I think we're stopping too many matches! That makes certain government ministers happy, but it bothers me. Football can't be taken hostage by vulgarity,” said Le Graet in an interview with newspaper Ouest-France.

Several matches have been temporarily halted in France this season after the French football League (LFP) introduced over the summer plans to tackle fan homophobia during matches, including allowing referees to stop games.

“Matches have been stopped when they shouldn't have been,” Le Graet continued.

“We will stop them if there is consistent homophobic abuse from the whole ground, but if among 30,000 people there are 2,000 imbeciles I don't see why the other 28,000 should be punished.”

Le Graet referred to France's sports minister Roxana Maracineanu, who in April launched the appeal for matches to be stopped in the event of homophobic abuse, and equalities minister Marlene Schiappa.

Schiappa publicly praised referee Clement Turpin after he stopped Marseille's 2-1 win at Nice for over 10 minutes last month following sustained abusive chanting and banners from home fans, but Le Graet insisted that it wasn't football's job to combat homophobia.

Paris Saint-Germain's match at Metz two days later was also briefly halted for a banner unfurled by the hosts' supporters asking the French league (LFP) to allow them to aim homophobic chants at PSG.

“Did football invent homophobia? You can be a know-it-all when you have got much to say. But there are more important political issues,” he said.

“This crisis will resolve itself. We will work with club presidents, people who don't stick their oar in every morning, who don't want to just look good in front of the television cameras.”

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