PSG fittingly can send club legend Maxwell out on top with cup triumph
PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain will end an unsatisfying season with a Coupe de France final against Angers at Stade de France on Saturday and the curtain will come down on popular veteran Maxwell's illustrious career with the capital club as well.
It is unclear what the future holds for the Brazilian left-back right now but whether he plays on or hangs up his boots, the 35-year-old will always deserve more credit than he generally tends to get.
Assuming PSG beat Angers this weekend, Maxwell will leave the club -- as a player -- with 15 trophies from his time at Parc des Princes and the final one will be the club's record 11th Coupe de France, in the 100th edition of the competition.
Incorporate the other pieces of silverware the South American won with Cruzeiro, Ajax, Inter Milan and Barcelona and he is the most decorated active player in European football with 36 titles -- potentially 37 come Saturday.
It is not only the glory Maxwell has helped to bring to PSG that has made him extremely popular with the capital club's supporters though. The man from Cachoeiro de Itapemirim represents much more than that to Les Parisiens.
Since his arrival back in the Jan. 2012, the No. 17 has brought a class and elegance to the club on and off the pitch. He has been one of Qatar Sports Investments' (QSI) best value acquisitions -- a snip at just €3.5 million -- but also one of, if not the, most likeable.
Every aspect of Maxwell's Parisien story commands respect and evokes adoration from the capital outfit's fans.
Whether it is his consistent performances, balanced style of play, softly spoken demeanour or his bromance with former talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, people at PSG think extremely highly of him -- one of many reasons why he is expected to be offered a staff role upon retirement.
Just listening to coach Unai Emery and teammates Kevin Trapp and Julian Draxler speaking about Maxwell in the days building up to the Coupe de France final gives you an idea of the high opinions his teammates have of him.
"His tribute was deserved," said Emery during his pre-match news conference at Stade de France. "Winning this match is the best possible send-off. I will speak with him next week (regarding his future)."
"Maxwell is extraordinary," Trapp told a sponsor event ahead of the Angers clash. "He is a rare character these days. He helped me a lot when I arrived and I consider him a very good friend.
"He helps with a lot of things but is also there whenever you have questions or doubts. He is a very, very nice guy and we will remain in contact -- even once his career is over."
"I have a lot of respect for him," added Draxler. "I did even before I joined PSG. When I arrived, he was very supportive and his wife even helped me find a Parisian apartment once."
PSG will be worse off without Maxwell around, even if it is true that he has started to look his age in UEFA Champions League games and Layvin Kurzawa -- when fit -- is a more attack-minded option at left-back.
Not only is the Samba star one of the most experienced members of the squad, he is also one of the most grounded and he will be difficult to replace in the dressing room.
The day will surely come where Maxwell occupies a staff role and when it does, it will be well deserved. However, until then, he has earned the right to play on a little bit longer -- possibly in his native Brazil.
Whatever happens this weekend, he will hold a special place in the heart of PSG fans for years to come.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.