WFC: Maxwell says PSG is already a world soccer power
PRINCETON, N.J. -- If you see Paris Saint-Germain defender Maxwell around, soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn't usually too far behind.
Their careers have followed remarkable parallel paths, first at Ajax Amsterdam, then at Inter Milan, Barcelona and now Paris Saint-Germain. So it comes as no surprise that Maxwell may have played a small part in Ibrahimovic's acquisition by the heavy-spending Parisian club last week.
"What I was able to do is pass along positive information [to Ibrahimovic]," Maxwell told MLSsoccer.com at the club's US preseason base on Friday. "But I think the person more responsible than anyone has been Leonardo [Sporting Director] who convinced him and pursued him. All I could do is to pass along information and incentivize him [Ibrahimovic].
"For me it has been a unique experience in soccer. It’s difficult in soccer to play so many seasons with a friend, because [soccer] usually takes you one way and your friend somewhere else. But we’ve had the luck and the blessing to play on so many teams and for so many seasons together and it’ll be a pleasure to do it once more.”
Maxwell joined PSG in January, part of a steady stream of elite soccer talents amassed by the club after its takeover by new Qatari owners, who have infused the club with funds. The Brazilian is convinced that the French side can already be considered a world power.
“I think so," he said. "I think the owners came on strong and the impact has been a big one … The group is a good one and we have a lot [of talent] to be competitive in Europe. You can consider that we’re among the big clubs. Now we have to show it on the field.”
According to Maxwell, the club's realistic ambitions for the upcoming European season include a French Ligue 1 title and making their deepest ever run in the UEFA Champions League -- "We'll do the best we can, looking to do better than we have in the past," Maxwell said.
But PSG's best ever finish in the Champions League was semifinal elimination at the hands of AC Milan in 1994-'95. Maybe dreaming of a European final isn't so farfetched when you have a star like Ibrahimovic joining the fold.
“It’s been a summer full of messages and a lot of conversations, impossible to count," Maxwell revealed. "In the end, everything turned out well. I will be really happy to see him on the 24th [of July] in Washington. And I hope to be done with all the messages, questions and doubts and he’ll actually be there experiencing important moments with Paris Saint-Germain.”