The word to designate the disaster is not yet fixed. Remuntada? Comeback?In any case, it is clear that the elimination of the Paris Saint-Germain Champions League against Manchester United will go to the annals of the French club. For now, I joined him in a deep identity crisis, that of a team that spends and buys – and sometimes plays – as if it were one of the best, but with the results of a modest and hard-working team.
The word "comeback" -o remuntada, in Catalan- is already part of the current French language since 2017 Barça won 6-1 at PSG and he turned around an adverse 4-0. Now any change of trend, in politics or in the economy, is a comeback in France. The last one, the rise of President Emmanuel Macron in the polls, after the crisis of the yellow vests.
The discussion is open about what is the most appropriate neologism after Manchester United turned around to a 0-2 at Old Trafford and defeated by PSG 1-3 in the Parc des Princes de Paris. Another comeback Now Le Monde propose the term in English: Comeback Le Parisien speaks directly of "the trauma", and perhaps it is what best defines what happened on Wednesday in Paris.
For the third consecutive year, the French champion crashed in the knockout stages of the Champions League, as if it were an insurmountable wall. For the second time, he falls victim to a comeback. "It's hard to understand how this PSG team can deflate as soon as there is a major match in March," Pierre Maturana, editor-in-chief of the team, said by telephone. So Foot. "Every time we have the impression that they had the keys to qualify and then lose confidence, and that the team does not have the ingredients, perhaps in the animic state, or the desire, or in the game, to qualify. It is particular, because millions have been invested and in the end it is a team that the more it spends, the less good it is in Europe ".
Founded in 1970 in a city without too much football, the PSG will surely be a club without the history or the soul of the greats of world football, but its eliminations chained in Europe are more than a defeat. A whole model is in question: that of the team manufactured at the stroke of the checkbook of the Emir of Qatar, a constellation of stars, a powerful and efficient brand to earn money but less to obtain relief titles. Failure in the Champions League also raises doubts about the triumphant French football model, capable of producing some of the best talent and winning the World Cup, but without any top-level team.
PSG can now walk through the League and the Cup, competitions of little value to Parisians. Time and time again, the jump to Europe ends in failure. Neither the excellence of France in the world championship nor the presence of outsiders such as Neymar or Mbappé can, by themselves, place Ligue 1 among the major European leagues. There is something melancholy in these games in the Parc des Princes, where tourists mix with local fans, and in which the PSG routinely routinely defeats the Angers or Amiens, the same peripheral France – that of the middle class pauperized in the medium and small cities- that every Saturday he visits Paris to challenge the system. The system is Macron, who, by the way, is a fan of Olympique de Marseille; and the system It is also PSG.
The cracks that Amir Tamim ben Hamad Al Thani and his man in Paris, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, signed during these years (400 million in 2017 by Neymar and Mbappé) should not dream that their destiny would be to exhaust the season in fields of 20,000 or 30,000 spectators in Toulouse or Montpellier, instead of the Camp Nou or the Metropolitan Wanda, where the Champions League final will take place on June 1st.
That was not the idea of the Qataris when they bought the PSG eight years ago. The idea was to create a team that interacted with the Barca, Madrid, Manchester, Juventus or Bayern. "Now there are many questions about the project," says Maturana. "Where are you going? How has it been built? Are there gaps in club culture? In the management? I think it's a bit in all these areas where Paris does not become a great club. "
The wall of rooms
The balance is poor. They have never gone beyond the quarterfinals and, in the last three seasons, they have run aground in the second round: in 2017 against Barça, when the famous comeback; in 2018 against Real Madrid; and this year against the more discreet Manchester United, which appeared plagued by casualties. Now comes the time of blame. The eyes are focused on Al-Khelaifi, but also on the coach, the German Thomas Tuchel, and the 41-year-old goalkeeper, the Italian Gigi Buffon. And the speculations are triggered. Will Neymar leave? And Mbappé? Will these two settle for spending the rest of their professional days playing in fields of the French province?
Paris assumes that it is not yet the capital of football. Maybe it never is. It is already the capital of so many other things … Getting out of the pothole, for PSG, will not be easy. The "comeback" will cost.