Soccer

5 things to know about PSG

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Five things to know about Paris Saint-Germain, the defending French champion:

NEW COACH

When Carlo Ancelotti left for Real Madrid after leading the club to its first league title since 1994, PSG hired former France coach Laurent Blanc on a two-year contract with the mission to build on last season and improve the club's performances on the European stage. Blanc, who stepped down from his position as France manager after last year's European Championship, was not PSG's first choice but the club failed to lure a more glamorous manager. Blanc coached Bordeaux to the French title in 2009 and also won the League Cup that season.

OFF-SEASON TURMOIL

PSG went through a difficult off-season, with Ancelotti signing for Real Madrid and sporting director Leonardo resigning after being banned for the entire new season for shoving a referee. Ancelotti's and Leonardo's contacts were instrumental in bringing big signings like striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and center back Thiago Silva to the club, and there were fears the pair's departure would bring some uncertainty. However, PSG continued to spend lavishly this summer, adding more prestigious names to its already star-studded team.

MARQUEE SIGNINGS

PSG signed Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani from Napoli to a five-year contract for 64 million euros ($84 million) in the fifth most expensive transfer in history, as well as recruiting Brazilian center-half Marquinhos from AS Roma for an estimated 35 million-euro ($46 million) fee. PSG also recently hired 19-year-old left back Lucas Digne from Lille.

WORLD-CLASS ATTACKING PAIR

Cavani was the leading scorer in Italy last season with 29 goals, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic led the French league with 30 goals. The two will be playing together this season, and according to Leonardo, PSG fans can expect goals galore at the Parc des Princes. Blanc is also convinced the two strikers can link well together, with Ibrahimovic expected to play behind Cavani, who will be used at the front of the attack. PSG also has a wealth of other talent up front with Lucas Moura, Javier Pastore, Jeremy Menez and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

RIOTOUS FANS

PSG still needs to work on its image as the club looks to establish itself as a major European force. Last season's title celebrations turned into a fiasco as fights between fans and riot police left more than 30 people injured and led to several arrests. The violence came three years after a PSG fan was killed in fighting outside the Parc des Princes, the second hooligan-related death at the club since 2006. PSG had serious problems with hooliganism from 1985 to 2010, as two ends of Parc des Princes - the Kop Boulogne and Tribune Auteuil - were violently opposed. The club then took measures to tackle the issue.

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