With the January transfer window well and truly in the rearview mirror, the UEFA Champions League (on Paramount+ and CBS) is preparing to make its big return next week. Paris Saint-Germain have been busy ahead of their mammoth showdown with Real Madrid and invited CBS Sports to peek at their new training facility earlier this week. On top of that, there was a new PSGxJordan shirt drop, and Mauricio Pochettino has also been discussing Kylian Mbappe's future.
All that plus more here.
PSG's training center takes shape
The French giants are constructing a massive 74-hectare campus in nearby Poissy, just 25 minutes from Parc des Princes, which will house PSG's professional team come summer 2023. The facility will boast 150,000 square meters (37 acres) of outdoor training space, 17 soccer fields and accommodate 180 athletes with on-site rooms and state-of-the-art training equipment.
The project will welcome 180 professional and youth players each year and is the second largest in the Ile-de-France region with 150,000 square meters of outdoor sports facilities. There is also a focus on the environment with 4,000 trees planted to preserve biodiversity across 53.9 hectares of renatured areas.
"Youth development has been our priority since the very beginning," PSG Chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi told CBS Sports exclusively. "We are currently the number one youth development center in France and one of the European clubs that has grown the greater number of young professional soccer players in the last 10 years.
"What the PSG training center will achieve is to make sure that they are in the best possible conditions to blossom and give their best performance. They train, study and sleep in the same location. They will be close to the professionals which will be very motivating for them. The professional team coach proximity will also be beneficial as we were on multiple sites before.
"It is a big investment for the future. We want our training center to be the one place for young talents -- male and female -- across multiple sports. With our expertise, the fantastic Greater Paris talents -- the second-best location in the world for talents -- and these new facilities mean that we have all we need for Paris to continue performing at highest level in the years to come."
Why it matters: PSG have been establishing themselves at the forefront of soccer over the past decade and this development will make their infrastructure some of the best in the world game. Also, it offers the opportunity to tap into the enormous wealth of talent in Paris with the potential to construct a squad based around local players.
Bulls influence PSGxJordan
PSG also released their fourth kit with a training and lifestyle collection to match and the inspiration behind this clean new look is the Chicago Bulls: "The design refers to the famous uniforms of the Chicago basketball team and continues to celebrate the collaboration between PSG and Jordan brand for over four years. The football shorts incorporate the diamond pattern, and the full collection combines the club's identity, the iconic codes of basketball, and those of street culture."
🆒⚽ @Jumpman23 #PSGxJordan collabs always produce gems! 💎— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) February 10, 2022
The new fourth kit is here perfectly combining the identity of Paris Saint Germain, the iconic codes of basketball, and the influence of street culture
🔥▶️ https://t.co/4H6iUd5Q5s pic.twitter.com/xOimr0jK9V
Why it matters: This latest collaboration brings PSG's mix of soccer and basketball style even closer than ever before and given that Jordan have now made the team's home kit, this latest look could signal the next stage in their partnership heading into this summer with the deal likely to be extended beyond its current expiration.
Pochettino 'in love' with PSG colors
Mauricio Pochettino has been speaking with Cadena Ser's El Larguero and admitted that he is "in love" with PSG's colors as well as expressing his hope that Kylian Mbappe spends his career in Paris as links with Real Madrid remain.
"I am in love with PSG's original shirt colors," said the Argentine. "When I signed in 2001, one of the things I always looked at was the kit. I loved the design and the badge -- it is one of the best color and design combinations in soccer."
"I do not think such an important decision comes down to one game. Kylian is intelligent and mature with enormous analytical skills. He always knows what he wants for his career and future. We must respect him and let him make his decision after the two legs. I hope that he will spend his entire career with PSG -- it would be a very good sign for us and for the club. Without a doubt, he is one of the five best in the world."
Why it matters: Not only has Mbappe been linked with a move away from PSG, but Pochettino too and these comments are perhaps with the intention of quelling the recent speculation regarding the Argentine taking over Manchester United and the Frenchman joining Real.
French players get betting bans
The LFP in France has sanctioned 30 players across Ligue 1 and 2 for betting on matches with suspensions announced for those who placed bets during the 2019-20 season with Stade Rennais' Gaetan Laborde, Angers SCO's Stephane Bahoken and FC Nantes' Jean-Charles Castelletto hit with three-game suspended bans.
Why it matters: If these sorts of rule infringements are only starting to be clamped down on, we could see a wave of punishments and bigger penalties dished out if the problems are as rife as feared after this.