fully weighted chips,
This sequence between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forwards Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. was emblematic of the beautiful game I grew up watching, playing and admiring. We’ve seen the connection between the two players at Barcelona and now PSG over 100 times.
The poised Argentinian displayed an otherworldly dribble to free himself from the sea of Angers defenders that surrounded him, then played a perfect pass to opponent Neymar. Magically twirling, with his trademark Brazilian flair and confidence, he slotted the ball past the cement keeper. This sequence was a football* legacy that I could only dream of seeing live before. The goal was quickly denied, but it turned out to be less than 5 inches offside, but seeing it unleashed firsthand was one of the most incredible goals I have ever seen. It was one of my fondest memories of the sporting event.
During my vacation, I was fortunate enough to travel to France with my family to visit family and friends and see the country’s rich cultural history. , when I learned that my family was visiting France, I knew I needed to go to the Parc de Princes, home of French football giants Paris Saint-Germain. The rest of my family had an appetite at the prospect of a typical French trip visiting the Louvre, Champs Elysées, Orsay Museum and Eiffel Tower, so I decided to visit the stadium.
Since I was three years old, soccer has been one of my favorite sports to watch and play. Fluidity of movement, precision of technical execution, and complexity of tactical decision-making are all aspects that initially hooked me. The passion of the fans and the athleticism of the players continue to fascinate me, with subtle strategies, tactics and formations adding layers of intrigue. When I got the chance to do it, I jumped at the opportunity.
Located in the 16th arrondissement on the outskirts of Paris, the Parc de Prince was conveniently located just 10 minutes from Port d’Atteil station on line 10 of the metro. Upon arrival at the stadium, the club’s motto, ‘ICI C’EST PARIS’, was painted over and a huge mural of all the players wrapped around some of the cement on the outside. After seeing the mural, we went inside the stadium.
As I walked through the concourse, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the stadium’s history and grandeur. From the VIP seating area to his locker room to the pitch (yes, the pitch where Messi, Mbappe and Neymar play) the stadium was simply enchanting. After a short trip to the club museum and a long trip to the stadium his store, the awe and wonder of the beautiful stadium, the thrill of the next game and the brand new Kylian with his Mbappe on his chest Parc de his left Prince. A jersey that sports in the game.
As I headed to the stadium on January 11th, I was immediately mesmerized by the roar of the air. The stands were filled with fans from both teams eagerly awaiting the start of the match. Then, as the teams took to the field, the tension was palpable and the energy of the crowd was contagious. With giant typhos, flares, flags, constant singing and drumming, the stadium was electric and a true icon of a top-flight game I had ever seen on television.
The match started at a high tempo, with both teams quickly establishing attacking play. PSG dominated possession in the early stages of the game and this possession paid off within his first five minutes. A low cross from full-back Nordi Mukiele was perfectly within the pass of striker Hugo Ekticke, who quietly put the ball into the bottom left corner. The stadium completely exploded. Fireworks, flags, drums and pure euphoria rang out from the sold-out Parc des Princes to see the team carry on with confidence and take the lead. The goal energized PSG and kept them going, but Angers also had chances.
The second half started with a renewed sense of urgency from Angers, but PSG’s defense was solid. Finally, in the 72nd minute, after another assist from Mukile, Lionel Messi scored the second goal of the match with a perfectly placed shot to put the game out of reach for Angers. The goal was greeted with deafening cheers from the home crowd and Messi’s celebration was met with a standing ovation. This marks Messi’s return from an incredible winning World Cup in Argentina. After an offside, PSG took control of the game and Angers could find no way to score.
When the final whistle blew, the stadium was filled with cheers, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of elation. The passion and emotion displayed by the fans and players was contagious and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride and connection to the team. Tens of thousands of Parisians cheered with jubilation and happiness as PSG returned to winning ways after his 3–1 loss to RC Lens in the final league match.
We boarded a subway filled with adoring fans who kept singing and cheering past the twinkles of the Eiffel Tower to our stop. Back at the hotel, I vividly remember attending the first European football match at the Parc des Princes. It was an unforgettable match that solidified my love and appreciation for a beautiful game.
* Please note that in this article the term soccer will be referred to as football.