Maxwell: PSG's quiet achiever
The PSG squad is full of big-name superstar imports, but not all of the club's foreign legion seek the limelight. Some are happier in the shadows: meet newly capped Brazil international left-back Maxwell.
Despite his modest demeanour, Maxwell Sherrer Cabelino Andrade, better known simply as Maxwell, is a key player for the champions. Formerly of Ajax, Inter Milan and Barcelona, the experienced Brazilian joined PSG for a cut-price €4m last year and was voted best left-back in Ligue 1 in his debut season.
"To be part of this new project in Paris it has been very special for me," Maxwell told beIN Sport. "The city is incredible and I think it deserves to have a big club and I'm very happy to be here and to be part of the process of changing the club. I already feel blessed in my career for everything I have achieved and this new challenge with hopefully some new titles here will be very special for me."
Maxwell's medal collection is already mightily impressive. After leaving his first club Cruzeiro for Ajax in 2001, he won two league titles and a Dutch Cup in the Netherlands, then picked up three Serie A crowns in as many years with Inter.
Feet on the ground
Two Spanish titles and a Champions League crown followed at Barcelona, and the 32-year-old could hardly have started life better in the French capital. But for someone who has enjoyed so much success, Maxwell remains modest, down to earth and approachable, and is one of the most popular figures at the club.
"He's been a big plus for this club," said defensive teammate and former France international Zoumana Camara. "He has won loads of trophies and he's always left a good impression everywhere he has been. He's straightforward and kind. He's just a classy man. Honestly, he's really left a big impression on me. He's just a top bloke."
PSG's Mr Nice guy is also fluent in five languages - and plays an important role off the pitch as well as on it.
"I try to give as much information as I can, I try to give confidence to some players that don't have as much experience yet," said Maxwell. "But I think we have a great team with players that have a lot of qualities, and I'm just a little piece of that, trying to be as positive as I can."
While everyone in the squad gets on well with Maxwell, one player is particularly close to the defender: Ibrahimovic may appear brash and confident, but he was a bundle of nerves when, at the age of 19, he left home to join up with Ajax, where a certain mop-haired Brazilian took the wayward teenager under his wing.
Zlatan: 'Maxwell is the best guy in the world'
"I called Maxwell because Maxwell came to Ajax at the same time as me, so he picked me up at the airport and I got to know him a little bit more," recalled Ibrahimovic. "After two weeks I called Maxwell, I said 'I have problems'. And he was like 'ok', because Maxwell is the best guy in the world. I mean if you want to have a teddy bear you have Maxwell. And I called him I said 'listen, I don't have food at home, I need help'. He said 'come to my place'. He put me on the floor with a mattress to sleep, and I was like sleeping in his house for two weeks, I was hanging with him, eating food and driving to training together, and then after one month the first salary came and it became easier for me."
In 2006, Maxwell signed for Inter - so did Zlatan - then in 2009, Maxwell signed for Barcelona - and so did Zlatan.
"He's like a brother to me, he's really a close friend," responded Maxwell. "We were lucky enough to play in so many clubs together and share so many special moments, from young single players to family men now, and we are still good friends. It has been very special for me to have spent almost my whole career playing with him. He's more than a friend now. I'm happy to have him here; I feel more confident when he's around, so it's very special."
Last month, Maxwell's career struck a new high when, at the age of 31, he made his Brazil debut against Switzerland, reaping the rewards for his superb displays in Ligue 1.
"I was honestly surprised when I got the call up, I really didn't expect it at all," he revealed. "But it arrived at a good time for me, I'm feeling good physically and mentally. I just tried to enjoy every minute I had in the national team, on the field, but also off the field, talking to the guys and sharing that happiness that all the Brazilian players have when they meet each other. It was really great so let's see what happens this season."
At a time when footballers are getting more and more negative publicity, Maxwell is living proof that they're not all a bad bunch - far from it, in fact.