After an eight year absence from Europe’s top competition Paris Saint-Germain’s win against Kyiv made it look like they had never been away. One player pulling the strings this season has been 19-year old Marco Veratti, the Italian has impressed everyone and continued to excel on his Champions League debut. The young playmaker is already becoming one of PSG’s most important players. Ross Mackiewicz looks further into his performances so far this season.
In the euphoria of Paris Saint-Germain’s victory over Toulouse last Friday night, talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic will deservedly take the acclaim for another sterling performance where he netted his fifth league goal of the season. The Swede has taken to his new home like a duck to water and the PSG team as a whole is getting better with each game. The players are gelling together, showing an understanding to Carlo Ancelotti’s tactics and carrying out their duties proficiently. One player in particular who epitomises all of the aforementioned is Italian prodigy Marco Verratti.
It is amazing just how quickly this kid has settled into a team littered with marquee names. At just 19-years of age and standing at 5 ft 5 , his physique and baby face looks are deceiving to the eye. He is a tenacious young man in the heart of the Parisien midfield, learning his trade alongside two of Ligue 1’s best in that position. With Blaise Matuidi at one side and Thiago Motta to his other, Verratti sits in between the two just in front of the back-four. There he has been undertaking the simple duty of distributing the ball smoothly to his peers and opening up games with pin point cross field passing. The incredible thing is that he was initially brought in as a player for the future. I remember saying in my PSG preview for the site that Ancelotti would gradually bed him in to the set-up but instead he has thrown him in at the deep end and how he has flourished.
He had no top-flight experience upon his arrival. He was a key man in minnows Pescara gaining promotion to Italy’s Serie A and that alerted the big hitters in Calcio. Juventus were courting him and wanted his signature but were outdone by Leonardo’s gift of the gab. PSG’s director of football has an insanely broad knowledge of Italian football during his time as a player and coach. You can tell that just by the amount of players to arrive at the Parc des Princes from Italy such as Salvatore Sirigu, Thiago Motta, Javier Pastore and so forth. Not to mention the coach ‘Carletto’, who played a big part in Verratti arriving as well.
The lure of the contract would have enticed the player no doubt but even he could never have imagined how well his time in Paris has turned out so far. It would not be over the top to say that he is quite possibly the team’s most important player at present. His distribution is absolutely pivotal in the way the team plays. The build-up all starts from him, by either gradually moving forward, keeping it simple with Motta and Matuidi or just getting the wide players slap bang into the game with a cross field ball.
His vision is exemplary and the awareness he shows is extraordinary for a player of his age and the maturity he shows. His role in both goals in Friday’s win – in particular the first where he diligently dinked the ball over the top for Pastore to score – was critical in his team getting all three points.
He has publically said that his idol is Italian veteran Andrea Pirlo who is playing just as good as he was six years ago. If this lad turns out to be half as good a player as him then Les Parisiens will reap the benefits for years to come. At the moment they already are and the 19-year-old could be just as important to the capital club winning Ligue 1 than Zlatan himself.