The arrival of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe has allowed Marco Verratti to feel that Paris Saint-Germain are on the same level as Bayern Munich for the first time as the teams prepare to meet in the Champions League.
PSG have aspired to challenge meaningfully for UEFA’s elite club competition each season since the Qatar Investment Authority’s takeover of the club in 2011.
They are yet to progress beyond the quarter-finals in that time and bowed out in the round of 16 last season after capitulating 6-1 away to Barcelona to lose the tie 6-5 on aggregate.
Another of the continent’s heavyweights, Bayern, arrive at Parc des Princes for a crunch Group B clash on Wednesday and, asked in a news conference if PSG have an opportunity to make a statement to the rest of Europe, Verratti replied: “We have to send a signal to ourselves.
“These games can bring you a lot of confidence.
“If we win, we do not win any trophies. If we lose it, we lose none. It is important but not decisive.
“For one of the first times, I feel at Bayern’s level.”
Marco Verratti is counting down the hours to Wednesday’s clash with @FCBayernEN: “The Parc will be on fire!”
— PSG English (@PSG_English) September 25, 2017
Speaking separately to PSG’s website, Verratti said “Our dream is, of course, to win everything, but we all know that football is a difficult sport and that you don’t win trophies by giving interviews.
“You have to win out on the pitch, and I have confidence in this team. The arrival of players like Neymar and Mbappe has taken us to the next level, as they are phenomenal players, rare players that very few teams can boast.
“They already feel at home here and both are having a great start to the season. One of our objectives is to win the Champions League. Players like them give us a greater chance.
“You know that each time you get the ball to them it can result in a scoring chance. They are players who can make the difference.
“Neymar has shown over the last three of four years that he’s one of the top three players in the world. It’s still amazing to see what these players are capable of doing once you give them the ball.”
Verratti was heavily linked with a move to Barca early in the off-season, but instead it was PSG who swooped to lure a prized asset away from Camp Nou.
The Italy international midfielder, meanwhile, is under contract in the French capital until 2021 and claims to be in no rush to commit to a new deal.
“I am very happy here,” he told the media.
“Extending? We’ll see later. I do not manage those things. There is no problem.”