Football: France await battle of billionaires

Football: France await battle of billionaires

PARIS - The first clash of two of Europe's newest financial heavyweights is set to indicate who has the early edge in France when champions Paris Saint-Germain host Monaco at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

Both teams spent heavily in the off-season with Qatari-backed PSG going cheque-book to cheque-book against the Russian-backed Principality outfit in a billionaires' battle for the game's most coveted players.

PSG coach Laurent Blanc welcomed Uruguayan Edinson Cavani from Napoli where he was Italy's top scorer last season, in the sixth highest transfer deal of all time at some 64 million euros.

While Monaco stunned the European football world when they captured the highly-rated Colombian Radamel Falcao for 60 million euros from Atletico Madrid.

Falcao was not the only recruit brought in by Italian coach Claudio Ranieri who also splashed out on big money deals to bring in James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho and Geoffrey Kondogbia, while captain Eric Abidal was picked up on a free from Barcelona.

Both teams are off to unbeaten starts although Monaco come into the match one point clear of Saint-Etienne while PSG are two points back but starting to change gears after an eye-catching 4-1 win over Olympiakos in midweek gave their Champions League quest a dream start.

"Obviously we are getting stronger and physically we have taken it to a higher level now," said Blanc, the former Bordeaux and France coach.

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