Paris Saint-Germain has made huge moves this summer, including signing of Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Brazil's Thiago Silva (both from AC Milan). Above, a common sight: Zlatan celebrating a goal. D.C. United fans will likely be among the first people to see PSG's new stars in the Parisian side's uniform.
D.C. United very recently welcomed Erick Thohir and Jason Levein, who joined Will Chang as owners of the club. The move has given the Black-and-Red more financial stability than they've had in years. The move is supposed to help United get a stadium, sign big-name players, and expand their global footprint.
On a larger scale, upcoming summer friendly opponent Paris Saint-Germain - one of the richest clubs in world soccer - is doing the same thing. In what obviously is a move to stack their team to avoid an embarrassing loss at RFK (fine, it has nothing to do with that...just play along) PSG have apparently signed superstar striker and world-class quote machine Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the same day they officially announced signing Thiago Silva, who happens to be a starting center back for Brazil.
United fans will be, at worst, the second group of fans to see "Ibra" and Thiago Silva play in their new jersey, as PSG will face Champions League winner Chelsea in New York City next Monday before Saturday's far more glamorous friendly at RFK Stadium.
Followers of the international game will need no introduction to these guys, but we have plenty of fans who only follow MLS (you are wonderful people for doing so, by the way). If you're in that latter category, you may be wondering who the hell these guys are. Read on to find out:
We'll start with Ibrahimovic, who has the size (6'5") of a target man, the skill of a playmaker, and gets away with saying things like "An injured Zlatan is a pretty serious thing for any team" because that's by and large an accurate statement. He's played for many of the world's biggest clubs: Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, and AC Milan are all former homes for Zlatan, and every single one has won the UEFA Champions League at some point. Ibrahimovic is also Sweden's star player, and you may have seen him starting all three matches for them in last month's Euro 2012.
If you need to know more, just watch him score this series of outrageous goals. The crazy thing about Ibrahimovic is that he has the size of a classic battering ram sort of forward, yet tends to score the kinds of goals you see from guys that are 5'7" and hail from places that don't have a significant portion of their territory above the Arctic Circle. While Zlatan will use his strength and size throughout a game, he's at his most threatening on the dribble.
Zlatan will see at least one familiar face at the Parc des Princes in Thiago Silva, his AC Milan teammate for the last two seasons. American fans may best know Silva as "that dude who kept Oguchi Onyewu out of the squad at Milan" or "that dude who scored on the US in May." Either way, Silva is a top-notch center back who is now first-choice for Brazil, which is always a noteworthy achievement.
United may not take to ballin' out of control like PSG is right now anytime soon, but perhaps there's a chance of seeing DC - after Estadio Marco Antonio Etcheverry is built, naturally - try to follow PSG's path on an MLS scale. Like PSG, United wants to be a bigger club both domestically and internationally. Like PSG, United is the soccer team in a major international city as well as a capital city. Like PSG, United is a young team (PSG was founded in 1970, which for European clubs is roughly like being the Houston Dynamo).
In the comments, feel free to dream about United's future superstar player as our team eventually grows richer than Harlem resident Tron (slightly NSFW, language), or wonder which DC player will claim Zlatan's jersey (my money's on Dwayne De Rosario pulling rank as captain).