Paris Saint-Germain get their UEFA Champions League campaign underway on Wednesday away at Club Brugge (Paramount+) and head coach Mauricio Pochettino has a new-look squad compared to the one which was eliminated by Manchester City in last season's semifinals.
Lionel Messi headed a star-studded influx of talent at Parc des Princes this summer with Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum and Nuno Mendes also coming in while Kylian Mbappe also remains a capital club player despite Real Madrid's interest.
"The Champions League is really unpredictable," Pochettino told UEFA France ahead of the trip to Belgium. "However, it is also one of the most compelling in the world to compete in. You need luck to win it. All the teams are strong.
"There is nothing better than being a part of it. When the staff consider it, we say that we are the ones under pressure and the ones with responsibility. We are also the ones with the fortune to be part of it and to experience it."
Brugge's Jan Breydel Stadium will likely be the first to host Messi, Mbappe and Neymar on the same pitch at the same time after only the Argentine and French superstars featured together when the legendary South American made his debut in Reims before the international break.
Pochettino is delighted with Messi's summer arrival and how he is settling in with his new teammates and admitted that he is enjoying having his compatriot at his disposition after years of only being opponents -- both as players and now for him as a manager.
"Maybe I am not the best person to describe Leo," said the 49-year-old. "I do not have the words for that. Many other people with broader vocabularies can describe him the way he deserves to be described. Leo will always be considered among the world's best.
"Since Leo arrived, he has adapted really quickly and trained very well," Pochettino added. "He is trying to get back to his best level as quickly as he can. I did not think it would be possible for us to get him.
"When an opportunity like this presents itself and everything goes so fast, you do not necessarily have time to realize that it has happened. I have admired him as an opponent for so long and now seeing him with us training is so nice. We hope that we can achieve the club's goals together."
Messi is not the only new addition with Hakimi also earning rave reviews after his arrival from Italian champions Inter Milan and a fast start to life in Ligue 1 with one goal and two assists from five appearances already.
Pochettino confessed that the Morocco international is a player he had earmarked even during his time as Tottenham Hotspur boss before Hakimi joined Borussia Dortmund from Real Madrid and featured against PSG in the Champions League while with the Germans.
"Achraf is a young player who was already on my radar at Tottenham," he said. "We were about to bring him to Spurs before he opted to join Dortmund. He is very tough with enormous physical potential. He is young and still needs to mature defensively but he also brings a lot in attack."
Pochettino also appreciated PSG's summer swoop for Wijnaldum after his Liverpool contract expired and the Dutchman has significantly boosted the midfield quality available to the Argentine with other positions also part of the 30-year-old's multifaceted skillset.
"Gini has captained the Netherlands and won everything with Liverpool," said the man from Murphy. "He still has many years ahead of him. He can play in several positions without losing any competitive edge and he understands the game very well. He has very good technique and is very powerful at the same time."
Wijnaldum, like Hakimi and Messi, will likely heavily feature this coming midweek against Brugge with Marco Verratti also expected back from injury and only Ramos not yet available from the quality list of summer additions to the squad.
With City and familiar foes RB Leipzig also to come in Group A, Pochettino will be eyeing a fast start in Belgium and a potential first masterclass from Messi, Mbappe and Neymar which you will be able to follow on Paramount+.