News : Out in the Champions League: brutal evening for PSG – Sport
In the end there was just frustration, undisguised. And frustration is particularly strong when it comes to nerves when it is to a large extent self-inflicted. Paris Saint-Germain is out, demonstrated and deconstructed. “THE END” is the headline L’Équipe all over her first page to a picture by Ángel Di Mara. He wipes his face with the waistband of his jersey when he leaves the field at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester early, which he had just transformed with a stupid kick to the battlefield and saw red for it. Or is he hiding his face under the camisole? One does not know.
“The end of a dream,” headlines Le Parisien. Everything fits in the end. Also the heated debate after the game. In his interview on the sidelines, Basque Ander Herrera said that referee Björn Kuipers from Holland had sent Parisian players to the devil in an inelegant way. He said “Fuck off” to Leandro Paredes. “If we say that, we’ll be banned from four or five games.” Then Marco Verratti came to the interview and provided an even more colored version of the interpersonal relationships in the game. “He said ‘Fuck you’ to me twice. That way you get nervous over time.” Verratti then went on to say that Kuipers’ filthiness was of course no excuse for leaving, but it had to be said anyway. As a reverberation to the end.
Perhaps the ten of the Qatari era in Paris will also be facing a major overhaul of the team. Will Kylian Mbappé stay? And Neymar Junior? Contract negotiations have been going on with both super players for months. Qatar absolutely wants to go into the next two seasons with a highly endowed team, after all the World Cup will take place under the palm trees of the Emir in 2022, and everything is geared towards that, the entire Paris master plan. You want to shine as a patron of the most beautiful and best football. Le Parisien is skeptical: “In order for a tree to grow well, you sometimes have to cut off a few nice branches.”
PSG have become a global brand thanks to Neymar and Mbappé, but what about the game?
It is also the end of an illusion. In Paris (and especially in Doha) it has always been thought that it would be enough to pay some outstanding men of the sport very well, and they would then ensure that a great trophy comes out of it – one with handles like ears. Neymar, for example, earns three million euros a month, net. Mbappé gets a little less, but he is now offered the same amount. Sure, PSG has become a global brand thanks to these stars, their camisoles are sold everywhere. But what about the game?
The cold evening in Manchester revealed the limits of Parisian window football in an almost exemplary manner. Especially since City, which pursues a slightly different personnel philosophy with similarly gigantic resources from the Gulf, also put a mirror in front of the Qataris. Brutal, you have to say.
The evening started with a picture from the stands. Mbappé sat there, wrapped up in a down jacket and woolen hat, as a substitute player because of his slightly damaged right calf. He wore tennis shoes on his feet, which of course did not escape the French commentators. Before the game there was a lot of speculation whether “Kyky” might make it after all. City coach Pep Guardiola even thought that Paris was only performing a circus to fool him during the preparations. But there he was now, with a blank look.
On the pitch, Neymar gathered the rest of the team around for a semi-meditative self-motivation round, which is otherwise not his role. But the Brazilian took the matter of qualifying for the final very personally. “If I have to, I will die on the square,” he said before the trip. The diamond earring flashed as well.
At PSG, the frustration grows with the length of the game
Well, Mbappé was not supposed to play a single minute, even though he came out of the half-time break in football boots. And Neymar, the improvised leader, once again offered a bad version of his repertoire, dribbled for the sake of dribbling, didn’t even play when he was surrounded by three or four citizens. Sometimes he would get the ball deep in his own half to signal his comrades that they were inept. Not a single PSG deal would have fit into the goal – a Paris premiere since these statistics were recorded in the Champions League, since 2004. So the frustration grew the longer the game played, until it got the better of it.
And city? Like a choir, unanimous, a real team. All always in motion, undulating, back and forth. PSG, on the other hand, almost never defends as a collective, there are always grotesque spaces for counterattacks behind and on the flanks. If the stars are missing, or if they stay below the paid level, the entire team, which is otherwise very poorly appointed, falls apart completely. City’s left wing Riyad Mahrez, Algerian from Sarcelles, a suburb of Paris, scored three times in 180 minutes. And that’s the story within the story, sort of a continuation of the Lisbon final. Back then, Bayern won against PSG thanks to a goal from Kingsley Coman from Moissy-Cramayel, the name of another suburb of Paris. Both Coman and Mahrez weren’t good enough for PSG.
After all, Mbappé’s right calf was spared. There is now a little compulsory program at home, on the smaller stage. PSG are only second behind Lille in Ligue 1, which it should win on one leg. And Lyon is still fighting for the title. If the Parisians are not even champions this year, then Mauricio Pochettino would probably be about to end again. “We dominated the two games,” said the Argentine coach after the 1: 4 home and away game against City: “That gives us hope for the future.” Sometimes frustration can only be appeased with a dose of self-deception.