Paris wasn't short on ambition as they prepared for the start of the 2012-13 season. Ezequiel Lavezzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva… The club offered its supporters some of the hottest names in Europe during the summer transfer window...
Reinforced by a host of new stars, Paris warmed up for the season in the best possible conditions. The aim for the season: Win the Ligue 1 titles that dramatically eluded the club the previous year, and also return to the continent's top club competition, the Champions League, after an eight-year absence.
Preseason saw the Parisians head to Stegersbach in Austria for a ten-day training camp before jetting out to America with, this time, a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their ranks. The North American leg was highlighted by a 1-1 friendly match with European champions Chelsea at Yankee Stadium in New-York.
After returning to France, Carlo Ancelotti's men measured themselves against none other than FC Barcelona in another friendly match. Salvatore Sirigu and Co. matched the Spanish giants 2-2 before going down 4-1 in the penalty shootout. Just a few days before the official start of the new season, everything was in place.
Paris began the 2012-13 campaign at home to Lorient at the Parc des Princes. Well prepared and physically raring to go, Les Merlus caused Paris plenty of problems and the match ended 2-2, including Ibra's first brace of the season.
The Paris squad took a little time to get going and after three consecutive draws, it wasn't until Week 4 of the campaign that the Parisians recorded their first victory. It was in the north of France that Paris finally launched their campaign against Lille and a 2-1 victory featuring another double from the club's giant Swedish superstar.
Another three points followed against Toulouse (2-0), before it was time for the Champions League. After nearly a decade's absence, the Parisians marked their return to Europe's premier club competition with a resounding 4-1 victory over Dynamo Kiev.
Buoyed by their continental success, the club from the capital recorded their largest ever away win with a 4-0 demolition of Bastia before defeating Sochaux 2-0, in a perfect month of September.
October began less well with a late 1-0 defeat away to Porto.
7 October 2012: It was time to travel to the Stade Vélodrome for Le Classique. Inspired, Ibra netted two more remarkable goals as the match ended 2-2.
It got even better for Les Rouge et Bleu as Reims, Dinamo Zagreb, Nancy and Marseille, this time in the Coupe de la Ligue all felt the force of Paris' attacking prowess. The first defeat of the campaign came soon after, 2-1, to Saint-Etienne. It marked the start of a difficult month of November for the side from the French capital. Fortunately, a festive December started in style with a 2-1 win over Porto which saw Paris clinch top spot in Group A of the Champions League.
Next up came Evian (4-0), Valenciennes (0-4) and Lyon (1-0); all fell victim to the high-flying Rouge et Bleu. A comprehensive 3-0 win over Brest in the final match of the calendar year saw Paris secure the honorary title of Autumnal champion before the players were afforded a few deserved days holiday.
2013 began in Doha, in Qatar. It was the chance for new Brazilian signing Lucas to meet his new teammates. The return to competition wasn't easy with a tough and slender 4-3 win over Arras in the Coupe de France. After a scoreless draw with Ajaccio, Paris stepped up a gear with wins over Bordeaux, Toulouse in the Coupe de France and Lille. The run of matches saw Salvatore Sirigu set a new club record for the amount of time without conceding a goal, surpassing the previous time set by the legendary Bernard Lama!
31 January 2013: The club produces another huge surprise for its supporters by announcing the signature of David Beckham on the final day of the winter mercato!
The arrival of the English superstar sees the club continue on its winning ways with a 4-0 triumph over Toulouse followed by a 3-1 win over Bastia before the last 16 of the Champions League. Away to Spanish giants Valencia in the first knockout stage, Paris produced a veritable master class, running out 2-1 winners.
The return to domestic action proved a little less convincing with a 3-2 upset at the hands of Sochaux. The reaction was immediate. As Beckham debuted in his new colours, Paris recorded back to back 2-0 home wins against archrivals Marseille, firstly in the league and then in the Coupe de France.
Paris confirmed their place in the Champions League quarter-finals with a 1-1 draw at home to Valencia. Despite hiccups against Reims (0-1) and Saint-Etienne (2-2), Paris continued to set the pace at the top of the ladder with previous victories over Nancy, 2-1, and defending champions Montpellier, 1-0.
Then came one of the highlights of the entire season with the quarter-final of the Champions League against FC Barcelona. There were nearly one million requests for tickets for this dream line-up! And the match lived up to the hype with Matuidi scoring in the last minute to secure a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Parc…
Carlo Ancelotti's players warmed up for the return match against the Catalan outfit with a 2-0 victory over Rennes in Ligue 1. Then, at the Camp Nou, Paris showed that they were anything but out of place in Europe's final eight clubs and even opened the scoring through Javier Pastore. Pedro equalised before the home side and Paris were eliminated without losing and sent a strong message to the rest of the continent's footballing powerhouses.
Les Rouges et Bleu bounced back with a 1-0 win over Troyes before being knocked out of the Coupe de France quarter-finals by Evian… The players just had to focus on the Ligue 1 title and they did so with a 3-0 victory over Nice before avenging their Cup exit with a 1-0 win of their own away to Evian.
In the end, it was away to Lyon that the Parisians had the chance to secure the 2012-13 Ligue 1 crown. It was a tight affair until the 53rd minute... when Jérémy Ménez struck the goal that sent Paris into rapture. French champions for the third time in the club's history... 19 years after their previous triumph!
The celebrations could begin and there were wonderful scenes at the next home game at the Parc des Princes and a 3-1 win over Brest, followed by the official presentation of the Ligue 1 trophy. This penultimate match of the season also marked the final match in the truly stunning career of David Beckham.
The final match of the season saw the newly-crowned 2013 champions end with a win over Lorient that also saw the incredible Ibra receive his Golden Boot trophy for top scorer in Ligue 1 with 30 goals. Bring on the new season!