Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Sergio Ramos, Marquinhos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Ángel di María, Georginio Wijnaldum. On paper, bringing together several top-tier stars of world football seemed like a great idea to put Paris Saint-Germain on the path to an unprecedented European Champions League title.
But, two months after the start of the 2021/22 season, the “super PSG” reaches its first decisive confrontation, against Manchester City, today, in France, for the second round of Group A of the Champions, under strong pressure and much criticism .
Besides the lack of good football (the team debuted in the European tournament with a draw against the modest Brugge, for example), another issue has shaken the confidence that the project financed by the Qatar government can work: the ego wars.
The clashes that have split the locker room started even during the transfer window, when the star-studded Parisian cast was being assembled.
Defender Presnel Kimpembe, world champion with the French national team in the 2018 Cup and the only holder formed in the base categories of the club itself, did not like the idea of hiring Sergio Ramos, who would probably send him to the bench.
Then it was the turn of the newcomer Donnarumma to pout. Elected the best player in the last Euro Cup, the Italian has been complaining behind the scenes of being passed over by Keylor Navas, a goalkeeper who was already in Paris before and who has been selected in most matches.
The first conflict that became visible on the field took place ten days ago. Messi, the main reinforcement of the season, was substituted during the second half of the match against Lyon and, upon leaving the field, refused to congratulate coach Mauricio Pochettino.
After the discomfort caused by the scene, the coach, who is also Argentinian, stated that he had talked to his compatriot and that between them “everything was ok” and the situation was normal.
But the latest conflict is also what scares PSG fans the most. Neymar and Mbappé, two of the main stars of the cast and key players in the team’s game in recent seasons, are not getting along very well.
The French team has yet to score a goal this season with the direct participation of the two stars (assisted by one to submit the other). During the 2-0 victory over Montpellier on Saturday, the Canal+ broadcast caught Mbappé cursing the Brazilian and complaining that he wasn’t receiving passes from the 10 shirt.
The young striker has been one of the PSG players most criticized by the fans and the press this season.
For them, Mbappé has lost income, is little interested in the team’s success and has only been thinking about his individual performance because he plans to move to Real Madrid in June, when his contract with the French club comes to an end.
After two consecutive seasons with a change in the seat of the decision due to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, Uefa hopes that, this time, Champions will be able to go to the final according to their original plan.
The game that will decide Chelsea’s successor in the post of European club champion is scheduled for May 28 of next year and will be played at the Krestovsky stadium, in St. Petersburg (Russia).
Champions League – Round 2
13:45 – Shakhtar Donetsk vs Inter Milan (Group D)
1:45 pm – Ajax x Besiktas (Group C)
4 pm – Real Madrid x Sheriff (Group D)
16h – Milan x Atlético de Madrid (Group B)
4 pm – Borussia Dortmund vs Sporting (Group C)
4 pm – Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City (Group A)
4 pm – Porto x Liverpool (Group B)
4 pm – RB Leipzig x Brugge (Group A)
1:45 pm – Atalanta vs. Young Boys (Group F)
13:45 – Zenit St. Petersburg x Malmö (Group H)
4 pm – Wolfsburg x Sevilla (Group G)
4 pm – Bayern Munich vs Dynamo Kiev (Group E)
4 pm – Red Bull Salzburg x Lille (Group G)
4 pm – Juventus x Chelsea (Group G)
4 pm – Benfica x Barcelona (Group E)
16h – Manchester United vs Villarreal (Group F)