By Gabriel Tan
It seems rather strange that Marseille remain the only side from France to have won the European Cup after their triumph in 1993, especially given the fact that - at the turn of the millennium - Les Bleus were the dominant force in international football after winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000.
However, during France's World Cup triumph on home soil, only 10 of their 22-man squad were plying their trade in their own country, a figure which dropped to seven two years later when they pipped Italy in extra-time to win the European Championship.
Back then, the best Frenchmen, for a variety of reasons, all played their football abroad. Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane and Nicolas Anelka represented Arsenal, Juventus and Real Madrid respectively, to name but three of the leading lights of that generation.
Some would even say the Monaco side that reached the UEFA Champions League final in the 2003/04 season did so largely because of other sides' failures rather than their own excellence, even if they did have the likes of Ludovic Giuly, Patrice Evra and Fernando Morientes in their ranks.
Nonetheless, football climate has changed drastically in recent years with an increasing number of ridiculously wealthy tycoons viewing the sport as an avenue for investment.
Roman Abramovich's Russia revolution at Chelsea was swiftly followed by Abu Dhabi United Group's takeover of Manchester City. In Spain's La Liga, both Malaga and Getafe soon found themselves under Middle Eastern owners.
And then, beginning in 2011 and culminating early last year when they became sole shareholders, came Qatar Investment Authority's purchase of PSG, a club arguably more famous for the city it's based in then it's actual achievements - two Ligue 1 titles in 37 consecutive seasons in French football's top flight, with the last one coming in 1994.
Shortly after their takeover, Damien Comolli, who was then Liverpool's director of football told BBC Sport: "PSG could be in a league of their own for the next five to 10 years", while they "were on another planet" according to ex-Arsenal defender Gilles Grimandi.
But new club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi had no intention of adhering to Comolli's predicted timeline and, by the end of the summer transfer window of 2011, had spent over an estimated €89million in reinforcements, bringing in the likes of Javier Pastore, Jeremy Menez and Mohamed Sissoko.
Back then, the signing of Pastore was seen as a huge statement of PSG's intent given he had recently represented Argentina at the 2010 World Cup and was regarded as one of the most-talented young playmakers in the world.
"Pastore is a marquee signing for PSG and French football," Comolli said back in August 2011.
But if that capture proved Les Parisiens had what it took to lure the finest young talent to the Parc des Princes, they showed they were also capable of enticing established names just months later in the winter transfer window, convincing Alex, Thiago Motta and Maxwell to leave Chelsea, Inter Milan and Barcelona respectively for the French capital.
Still, it was not enough to win their third league title as PSG ended the 2011/12 campaign three points behind surprise champions Montpellier, but all that did was convince the Qataris to invest more cash last summer.
With another €100m thrown his way, coach Carlo Ancelotti began to bring in genuine world-class names in Napoli forward Ezequiel Lavezzi and star AC Milan duo Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whilst also maintaining a focus on youth with the signings of Gregory van der Wiel and Marco Verratti.
Then in August, the club announced the €45m capture of the highly-rated Lucas Moura, convincing the 19-year-old Brazil international to snub Manchester United and Inter in the process.
Finally, the investment is starting to reap dividends as PSG currently hold a six-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 and look odds on for the title, but given how much money has been pumped into the club, it is unlikely the owners will be completely satisfied with just domestic success.
For a club of such burgeoning reputation, one that managed to convince David Beckham to make Paris the final chapter of his decorated career, there is no better way to announce themselves on the big stage than by making an impact in the Champions League.
It remains to be seen if PSG have taken the final step in their evolution and are ready to challenge the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, but they certainly - on paper at least - have the quality to do so.
They can move one step closer to doing just that on Tuesday when they visit the Mestalla for the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie against La Liga outfit Valencia, a side that have struggled for consistency all season long.
Should they succeed in seeing off Los Che, sterner tests await in the latter stages of the competition but, as Porto showed in 2004, every team has a chance of glory once the knockout stages arrive.
Still, given how far PSG have come in such a short span of time, and the prospect of even more cash being made available to lure the world's biggest talents to the club, it's very possible they could soon become Europe's dominant force.
What remains to be seen is whether or not they make a mockery of Comolli's conservative estimation by doing it this May.