Paris Saint-Germain has returned to the old ways in the Champions League. After touching the ‘Orejona’ in Lisbon in 2020 in the final against Bayern and falling in the semifinals last season against Manchester City, the Parisian team has sunk in the second round. Once again dropped from the maximum continental competition being traced back on the lap. A trauma that is becoming a tradition for the pharaonic project of Qatar Sports Investments. The Santiago Bernabu swallowedhis tenth attempt to lift the Champions League the course that more stars (Messi, Mbapp, Neymar…) had gathered in the Parque de los Prncipes.
“We made mistakes, but we have to be calm. We shouldn’t throw it all away. We shouldn’t start from scratch after each defeat. The goal is to win the Champions League and until the break we were good”, Leonardo confessed to ‘RMC’. The sports director of PSG is one of the main people singled out by the French press after the defeat due to his transfer policy with Mauricio Pochettinowho is criticized for his decisions (leaving Di Mara out, placing Donnarumma instead of Keylor…). His future in Paris is up in the air, according to ‘Le Parisien’: “It’s still part of the project for this season. It’s not the time to think about that.” Zinedine Zidane is already appearing in Paris.
We made mistakes, but we have to be calm. We shouldn’t throw it all away. We shouldn’t start from scratch after every loss
The Arbitration protests by the Brazilian leader and President Nasser Al-Khelaifi for Benzema’s possible foul on Donnarumma in Real Madrid’s 1-0 draw, with the consequent loss in the locker room tunnel in which threats and shouts were mixed, exemplified the frustration of PSG’s top officials after another failure in Europe. “After Real Madrid drew, everything fell apart very quickly. There was no serenity on the field and the players, who have a history, personality… seemed desperate. I am very angry because what just happened shows a lack of professionalism. It is more serious than what happened against Barcelona”, explained the former footballer Emmanuel Petit in ‘RMC’ doing a hard x-ray of the removal.
I am very angry because what just happened shows a lack of professionalism. It is more serious than what happened against Barcelona
The French press, which described what happened as “irrational” (‘L’Equipe’) and “sinking” (‘Le Parisien’), found parallels with the debacle at the Camp Nou in the second round of 2017. Then, Emery’s team, which had won 4-0 in the first leg at the Parque de los Prncipes, fell (6-1) in the second leg with arbitration controversy and conceding three goals in seven minutes (88 ‘-95′). At the Bernabu, after 1-0 in the first leg and a prodigious hour of play in which Mbapp scored and showed off along with the rest of his teammates, Benzema scored three goals in 17 minutes (61′-78’) to the canvas. A ‘deja vu’. “It’s a tremendous blow, we were better in the tie”, pochettino argument.
There are no more excuses. History repeats itself in Paris. The same thing happened to PSG in the 2014 quarterfinals, when they beat Chelsea at home in the first leg (3-1) and lost at Bridge (2-0). on the lap And also in the second round of 2018, when they won (0-2) at Old Trafford and a Manchester United plagued by casualties took Paris (1-3) depriving them of the quarterfinals. The coaches change (Blanc, Emery, Tuchel…) and the stars increase (Ibrahimovic, Cavani, Messi…) without changing the script. The list of comebacks suffered does not stop growing.
The trident and the matches away
The summer transfer market gave birth to a new, ambitious and millionaire project in Paris. “Mbapp said he wanted a competitive team and you can’t have a more competitive one. He has no excuses to do anything but stay.”Al-Khelaifi pointed out during Leo Messi’s presentation. PSG, despite the attempts of Real Madrid and the fact that he only had one year left on his contract, retained the French star, signed the Argentine and completed his great team with the additions of Donnarumma, Achraf, Wijnaldum, Danilo, Sergio Ramos and Nuno Mendes for 89.5 ‘kilos’. A constellation of stars that is not working as a block.
The irregular performance of his ‘MNM’ is the best example. Of 11 games that they have played together from the start, they have won five, drawn two and lost four. “If you want to win the Champions League, you can’t defend with seven players,” confesses Thierry Henry on ‘CBS Sports’. Pochettino has juggled to fit them in… with no luck. “Everyone can be the king of any club in the world, but at PSG you have three kings in the same club with different needs and who need different things from the team. It’s not easy to put it all together,” said the former Tottenham coach at the ‘Guardian’.
PSG eliminations in Champions
- 2012-13: Quarters (PSG 2-2 Barcelona, Barcelona 1-1 PSG)
- 2013-14: Quarters (PSG 3-1 Chelsea, Chelsea 2-0 PSG)
- 2014-15: Quarters (PSG 1-3 Barcelona, Barcelona 2-0 PSG)
- 2015-16: Quarters (PSG 2-2 City, City 1-0 PSG)
- 2016-17: Round of 16 (PSG 4-0 Barcelona, Barcelona 6-1 PSG)
- 2017-18: Round of 16 (Real Madrid 3-1 PSG, PSG 1-2 Real Madrid)
- 2018-19: Round of 16 (United 0-2 PSG, PSG 1-3 United)
- 2019-20: Final (PSG 0-1 Bayern)
- 2020-21: Semifinals (PSG 1-2 City, City 2-0 PSG)
- 2021-22: Round of 16 (PSG 1-0 Real Madrid, Real Madrid 3-1 PSG)
An imbalance that has not compensated two of the three legs of his attack. Injuries and breaks aside, Messi has only scored seven goals in 25 games this season between all tournaments and Neymar four in 19. Neither of them has given the plus that Mbapp has given him (25 goals in 31 games) to ‘justify ‘ his defensive freedom. Kylian has been ‘alone’ up front, Verratti isolated in midfield and PSG has been vulnerable behind and away from Paris. Of 20 games away, they have only won nine, drawing six and losing five (the last three against Nantes (3-1), Nice (1-0) and Real Madrid (3-1). And they leave the Champions League without triumphing as visitors after their departures to Bruges (1-1), Leipzig (2-2), Manchester (2-0) and Madrid (3-1) and after conceding 11 goals in eight games ! too many.
The Parisian Shredder
Since Qatar Sports Investments took control of PSG in 2011, the Parisians have invested 1,405 million euros in the signing of stars such as Neymar (222), Mbapp (145), Achraf (66.5), Cavani (64.5), Di Mara (63), Icardi (50), David Luiz (49.5), Thiago Silva (42)… without succeeding in Europe. Together with Manchester City, they have changed the financial and sporting ecosystem of football without hitting the jackpot. They have had six coaches (Kombouar, Ancelotti, Blanc, Emery, Tuchel and Pochettino) and have only managed to dominate France, despite the fact that two of their former coaches have been European champions with Real Madrid and Chelsea. Its 27 local titles (7 Leagues, 6 Cups, 6 League Cups and 8 Super Cups) do not justify the investment made. The Qatari leaders want the ‘Orejona’.
They did what they always do when under pressure: melt. There was neither organization nor leadership
“We have invested a lot in this club to win the Champions League,” repeats Al-Khelaifi. However, money is not everything. “They did what they always do when under pressure: melt. There was no organization and no leadership. The players are too powerful. They were too powerful with Tuchel, with Emery and now with Pochettino. They can’t be scolded and when the going gets tough, they don’t care.”sentenced in ‘BT’ the former English soccer player Steve McManaman drawing the atmosphere in a Parisian locker room that, according to ‘L’Equipe’, is “broken by parties, clans and privileges”.
A cocktail of errors that has led PSG to run out of ‘Orejona’ again. They were ‘saved’ throughout Ligue 1 (they are outstanding leaders although they have left five draws and three defeats) and La Coupe (they were eliminated in the round of 16 by Nice) to hit Europe… and they fell by the wayside. Mbapp has taken note.