Football Features

PSG’s 2010/11 squad before the Qatari takeover: From Ligue 1’s youngest captain to ‘Benzema of Ligue 2’

By Squawka News

Published: 17:00, 4 May 2023

It’s crazy to think that Paris Saint-Germain only became a mega-rich side in 2011.

It feels so much longer. After all, the French Ligue 1 side now employs some of the biggest names in football, notably Lionel Messi and Neymar, albeit the former is to leave when his contract runs out in the summer, while the latter is ruled out for the rest of the season after sustaining an ankle injury in March.

Despite their status as modern-day football greats the club recently increased security at their homes following protests by fans. “Paris St-Germain condemns in the strongest possible terms the unacceptable and insulting actions. Whatever the differences of opinion, nothing justifies such behaviour,” the club said in a statement.

Off-the-field turmoil aside it seems another domestic championship is heading their way, meaning as thing stand, we’ve only witnessed three seasons that has given us alternative French football champions since Qatar Sports Investments’ takeover just under a decade ago. No wonder so many of us have fond memories of Olivier Giroud’s Montpellier of 2011/12, Monaco’s young guns of 2016/17 and Lille 2020/21.

Under the leadership of Mauricio Pochettino, they were once again first among equals in France’s top division last season, romping to championship number 10, it meant PSG have drawn level with Marseille and Saint-Etienne as the joint-most successful side in the competition’s history.

A decade ago the thought of the Parisians equalling this record seemed almost unthinkable. Now, they are looking to go beyond that and set a new benchmark.

In 2010/11, the last campaign before PSG became a state-backed super-club able to command finances almost unrivalled in football, they had just two Ligue 1 trophies to their name. That season, they finished fourth in the league under the guidance of former manager Antoine Kombouare. What is now one of world football’s super-clubs watched on enviously as Eden Hazard, Moussa Sow, Gervinho, Yohan Cabaye and the rest of their Lille side took the crown.

But what they lacked in success, they made up for in personality. Perhaps the contents below will convince you that the 2010/11 side was actually more interesting than PSG’s current set of serial winners.

Mamadou Sakho

  • Age: 33
  • Appearances for PSG: 201
  • Current club: Montpellier

By the time 2010/11 came around Sakho was a fully-fledged member of the PSG first-team, having enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence, which culminated in becoming the club’s youngest-ever captain at 17, as well as the youngest player to ever skipper a side in Ligue 1.

The decision was made by former coach Paul Le Guen, who made the bold move after questioning the leadership qualities of captain Pauleta and vice-captain Sylvain Armand in 2007/08, a season in which PSG finished 16th and survived relegation by just three points — oh how times have changed.

Of course, those qualities were not lost on Liverpool, who moved to sign the Frenchman in 2013, but after struggling with injuries, producing inconsistent performances and falling out with Jurgen Klopp, he moved on to Crystal Palace, where he continued to play a restricted role before returning to France and playing for Montpellier.

Christophe Jallet

  • Age: 39
  • Appearances for PSG: 198
  • Current club: Retired

The regular starter at right-back, Jallet remained of importance to PSG following their investment and stayed in the capital until 2014, where his professionalism and dedication made him a firm favourite under Carlo Ancelotti.

By the time Jallet entered his 30s, PSG were on a fast-paced quest to dominate European football and so, he sought more regular first-team football at Lyon, where his consistency continued to shine through and earned him a place in the 2014/15 Ligue 1 Team of the Year.

A move to the Allianz Riviera followed and after two years with Nice he decided to cut his teeth with Amiens in 2019, where he spent a few seasons before hanging up his boots.


  • Age: 41
  • Appearances for PSG: 112
  • Current club: Juventude (loan)

Having finished the 2011/12 Ligue 1 season on 21 goals, making him the joint-top scorer that season, it is one of football’s great mysteries how Nene never received an international cap for Brazil. Though, that quandary is certainly not lost on West Ham fans who remember his ill-fated stint in 2015.

The prolific winger was PSG’s top scorer in the league in 2010/2011 as well and after just two-and-a-half years in Paris he left for Qatar. The aforementioned but highly forgettable spell at Upton Park followed, where Sam Allardyce preferred the mundane but effective wide-play of Matt Jarvis to Nene’s unpredictability.

As Slaven Bilic entered the frame and the likes of Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio joined him in east London, Nene was ushered out of door and returned to Brazil, where he has since turned out for Vasco da Gama, Sao Paulo and Fluminense.

Ludovic Giuly

  • Age: 46
  • Appearances for PSG: 125
  • Current club: Retired

The Champions League winner with Barcelona left PSG at the end of 2010/11 on a free transfer and spent a season apiece with both Monaco and Lorient. Giuly surprisingly retired in 2013 only to start playing again for fourth-tier French side Monts d’Or where he notched 16 goals in 39 appearances before bowing out for good in 2016.

Mevlut Erdinc

  • Age: 36
  • Appearances for PSG: 109
  • Current club: Retired

The FC Sochaux academy graduate earned his big move to PSG in 2009 and enjoyed a relatively fruitful spell in the French capital, netting 24 Ligue 1 goals across three seasons. Unfortunately for the Turkey international, he fell down the pecking order under Ancelotti and left the club in 2012, with Newcastle firm favourites at the time to secure his signature. 

After missing out on Kevin Gameiro, then-manager Alan Pardew revealed positive talks were in place to bring Erdinc to Tyneside. He said at the time: “Erding has always been on our radar. He’s a very good player and that is all I will say at the moment.

“We are working extremely hard to make the deal happen and I’m pretty happy with how things have gone so far.”

A deal ultimately failed to materialise and the Magpies went on to sign Demba Ba from West Ham, while Erdinc relocated to Rennes, before turning out for Saint-Etienne, Hannover 96, Guingamp, Metz, Istanbul Basaksehir, Antalyaspor, Fenerbahce, Kocaelispor and Racing Besançon before calling it a day.

Guillaume Hoarau

  • Age: 39
  • Appearances for PSG: 145
  • Current club: Retired

After bursting onto the scene with Le Havre in 2007/08, where his goalscoring heroics saw the talented tyro net 28 league goals in 38 games, Hoarau was aptly dubbed the ‘Karim Benzema of Ligue 2’, while those on English soil likened the towering youngster to a certain Peter Crouch. Quite the footballing paradox.

But there was certainly no question that Hoarau was destined for a big switch to a European powerhouse after that season, and he swiftly secured a move to PSG in 2008, where his maiden campaign was met with a place in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year and 17 goals to match.

However, following those two majestic seasons, Hoarau’s form dwindled and he never really pushed on from there. He struggled for form in the 2010/2011 campaign and was allowed to leave in 2012. A spell in China followed, before moving to Bordeaux.

He most recently plied his trade for Swiss side Young Boys where he was prolific, netting 118 goals from 187 matches, before hanging up his boots at FC Sion.

Claude Makelele

  • Age: 50
  • Appearances for PSG: 118
  • Current club: Chelsea (technical mentor)

Makelele was originally set to retire prior to the 2010/2011 season but stayed on for another year before finishing his playing career and becoming Carlo Ancelotti‘s assistant. He then took up a technical director role with Monaco before following Paul Clement to Swansea City in an assistant coaching capacity.

The Frenchman proceeded to take up the position of head coach at Belgian First Division side Eupen before leaving in the summer and returning to Stamford Bridge, where he currently occupies a technical mentor role for the club.

Sylvain Armand

  • Age: 42
  • Appearances for PSG: 377
  • Current club: Retired

Armand was PSG’s longest-serving player when he left the club in 2013, having spent nine years on the books. The textbook definition of a club legend, Armand has been canonised in Parisian folklore for his dedicated service to the club and has aptly earned the moniker “Mr. PSG” among fans. He left for Rennes after his PSG romance came to an end and remained at the Roazhon Park for four years before hanging up his boots in 2017.

Mateja Kezman

  • Age: 44
  • Appearances for PSG: 53
  • Current club: Retired

The experienced ex-Chelsea striker retired after a spell with South China and half a season with BATE Borisov in 2012. Just a couple of months into the 2010/11 season, Kezman’s contract in Paris was cancelled by mutual consent. The enigmatic forward never really settled into life at PSG with just five Ligue 1 goals to show for his two years at the club.

Siaka Tiene

  • Age: 41
  • Appearances for PSG: 75
  • Current club: Retired

The full-back actually survived the initial take-over from Qatar and was a part of the side that won the Ligue 1 division title in 2013. However, Tiene moved to Montpellier in 2013, who released the left-back after just two seasons.

Despite the 2014/15 season being Tiene’s last in the sport, he finished on a high, having scooped the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast, whom he represented on 96 occasions and started in the final against Ghana.

Mathieu Bodmer

  • Age: 40
  • Appearances for PSG: 91
  • Current club: Retired

Bodmer joined PSG for the start of the 2010/2011 season and impressed for two years at the club. But a loan spell with Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne followed and the midfielder was with Nice until January where he was deemed surplus to requirements in Lucien Favre’s title-challenging squad. Alongside ex-PSG teammate Jallet, Bodmer has also suffered relegation with Amiens following the curtailment of the Ligue 1 season.

Clement Chantome

  • Age: 35
  • Appearances for PSG: 249
  • Current club: C’Chartres

Chantome came through the youth ranks at PSG and spent 15 years with the club but the big money cost him a lot of game time. Although he remained contracted until 2015, he spent a season on loan at Toulouse and has since represented both Bordauex and Rennes. After moving on loan from Rennes to Lens, he is now plying his trade in the fifth tier of French football with C’Chartres.

Jeremy Clement

  • Age: 38
  • Appearances for PSG: 192
  • Current club: Retired

The 2010-11 season transpired to be Clement’s last with PSG and the one-time Rangers midfielder had been on the books at Saint-Etienne since July 2011, before transferring to Ligue 2 side AS Nancy in 2017. He most recently turned out for fifth-tier side FC Bourgoin-Jallieu, but following the premature ending to the season following the COVID-19 pandemic, Clement has announced his retirement from football.

Apoula Edel

PSG's goalkeeper Apoula Edel during the French First League Soccer match, Paris Saint-Germain vs AS Nancy at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France on May 10, 2011. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

  • Age: 36
  • Appearances for PSG: 68
  • Current club: Retired

During the season in question, Edel, who was born in Cameroon and moved to Armenia in 2002, was involved in legal proceedings against a former coach who accused him of faking his age and identity.

After Sevilla lost to PSG in the Europa League – a match in which Edel played and kept a clean sheet – the Spanish club used Philibert’s claims as the basis of a protest lodged with Uefa, seeking to have the result overturned. Uefa dismissed Sevilla’s complaint and subsequent appeals after Edel cleared his name through an interview with French police. Then he and PSG went about suing Philibert for defamation.

Edel was replaced as first-choice by Gregory Coupet in several instances but ultimately made the greater number of appearances throughout the 2010/11 campaign. He left the following summer for Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel after his contract expired and was last reported to be playing for FC Pune City in India.

Peguy Luyindula

  • Age: 43
  • Appearances for PSG: 180
  • Current club: Retired

As cult as it gets – Luyindula’s five-year spell with PSG ended in 2012 and the forward spent a season in the MLS with New York Red Bulls before retiring from the beautiful game. Just recently Dijon announced Luyindula as the club’s sporting director following a year-long stint as president Olivier Delcourt’s strategic advisor.


  • Age: 42
  • Appearances for PSG: 197
  • Current club: Retired

The Brazilian defender was a regular for PSG in their final season without riches but fell out of favour in the 2011/2012 campaign and was released after five years with the club. He was last playing back in his home country for America-MG after a stint with Internacional.

Zoumana Camara

  • Age: 44
  • Appearances for PSG: 224
  • Current club: PSG (U19 manager)

The defender’s game-time was becoming less frequent before the take-over but nonetheless, Camara stayed on the books as a player with PSG until 2015 and is currently their U19 manager.

Stephane Sessegnon

  • Age: 38
  • Appearances for PSG: 105
  • Current club: Sirens F.C.

Left halfway through the season and moved to the Premier League with Sunderland before joining West Brom after a £5.25m switch in 2013. But in the summer of 2016, he returned to France with Montpellier – before switching to Turkish Super Lig side Genclerbirligi in January 2018.

The diminutive trickster was a delight to watch in the Premier League, with his incisive wide-play and balletic gait regularly snapping ankles and leaving full-backs befuddled. Tottenham fans will be hoping his distant cousin, Ryan, can bring that same razzmatazz to north London in the years to come.

Gregory Coupet

  • Age: 50
  • Appearances for PSG: 46
  • Current club: Retired

If national team line-ups were selected by the general public, Coupet would have started in goal for France at the 2006 World Cup. A France Football poll found 69% readers preferred him to Fabien Barthez at the time. It would make sense, as during that summer his club at the time, Lyon, became French champions for a fifth straight year (they would go on to add two more) and Coupet was on a hot-streak of four consecutive Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year wins. It remains the longest uninterrupted run since the award was introduced and only the great Steve Mandanda of Marseille has won it more times overall.

Ahead of the 2006 tournament, Coupet and France’s then-manager Raymond Domenech got into a heated row during lunch in front of the whole squad and their families. Ironically, it was the result of a team-bonding exercise (sparked by the fact his rival, a then-34-year-old Barthez, was allowed to bail on an ascent of the Grande Motte glacier due to calf pain).

When Barthez eventually retired, though, Coupet was unable to find success as France’s No.1. He left Lyon for Atletico Madrid. There, he featured infrequently, conceded the first free kick ever scored by Lionel Messi (in quite embarrassing fashion), decided that was enough and returned to Ligue 1 for a swansong with PSG. The 2010/2011 season with PSG was Coupet’s last season before retiring.

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Jean-Christophe Bahebeck

  • Age: 30
  • Appearances for PSG: 53
  • Current club: Palmaflor

A highly-rated young talent who once drew links to Chelsea and Man City during his embryonic years, Bahebeck wasn’t quite able to live up to the hype and after enduring a nomadic existence with various loan spells away from Paris he permanently switched to Utrecht in the Eredevisie in 2018 before moving on and has since represented Partizan and now currently Palmaflor.

Jean-Eudes Maurice

  • Age: 35
  • Appearances for PSG: 53
  • Current club: Union Namur Fosses-la-Ville

The former PSG youngster left the Paris club in 2014 but has already moved between India with Chennaiyin and Cyprus with Ermis. The Haitian has also plied his trade in Vietnam with Sai Gon as well as Kazakhstan with Taraz and Aktobe. Quite the globetrotter, but he is now back to more familiar European soil with lower-league Belgian outfit Union Namur Fosses-la-Ville.

Tripy Makonda

  • Age: 33
  • Appearances for PSG: 27
  • Current club: Blue Boys Muhlenbach

Left the Paris club in 2011 after limited outings and has since donned the shirts of Brest, Academica in Portugal, AS Poissy and more recently Blue Boys Muhlenbach in Luxembourg, whom he joined in 2019.

Neeskens Kebano

  • Age: 31
  • Appearances for PSG: 9
  • Current club: Fulham

Played in the PSG youth set-up but was allowed to leave in 2013 for RSC Charleroi. He completed a move to another Belgian club, Genk, in 2015 before making the move the Championship club Fulham for £3.8m in August 2016. He featured sporadically under Scott Parker, making only eight league starts, but he scored the all-important goal that sent the Cottagers into the Championship play-off final at Cardiff City’s expense, and he started in the Wembley showpiece to secure promotion to the Premier League.

Sammy Traore

  • Age: 47
  • Appearances for PSG: 96
  • Current club: Retired

Traore spent six years with PSG before retiring in 2012. The former Malian international won 24 caps for his country and recorded a total of 96 appearances for the Parisians, having also managed 130 for Nice.

Loick Landre

  • Age: 30
  • Appearances for PSG: 1
  • Current club: Free agent

Made just one league outing in that campaign as a youngster with PSG, and moved to Lens after two loan spells in 2013, for whom he made over 80 appearances. He then joined Genoa on a permanent deal before joining AC Pisa on loan. He is now a free agent following a spell at Ligue 1 side Nimes.