It’s good for Qatar that Chelsea exists, or else Paris Saint-Germain would be most expensively assembled squad of clowns in world football. Since losing to Bayern Munich in the Champions League earlier this week, their team has devolved into a slew of bad narratives, media hyperbole, careless players, and just general ineptitude.
Let’s start from the beginning. Right after the game versus Bayern, Kylian Mbappe said that the tie wasn’t over yet, and asked his teammates to “eat well” and “sleep well” to get a positive result at the Allianz Arena.
Kylian Mbappé: “Everyone needs to be healthy, sleep well, eat well. We can do something there. If we are more offensive, they are uncomfortable. Let’s quickly move on & go again.” (C+)— Get French Football News (@GFFN) February 14, 2023
Not even 24 hours later, Neymar was spotted eating at a McDonald’s and then participating in a poker tournament (via Le10sport). While coach Christophe Galtier later defended his star player in the media, saying he had a right to do whatever he wanted on his day off, it put a spotlight on the Brazilian’s unprofessionalism and poor judgement at a time when the team needed something better. This was just the beginning of the circus at PSG.
Reports then surfaced that the Emir of Qatar and a large delegation of Qataris were NOT pleased with the team’s performance vs Bayern Munich (L’Equipe via @PSG_Inside). Galtier also has problems with the rest of the club. Here’s a quick roundup:
- The PSG players consider Galtier to be “extinct” tactically and accuse him of favoritism. They doubt his ability to mold the team into a cohesive unit, and this reflected in the club’s playstyle, which still looks like a collection of individuals (Foot Mercato).
- Friction has erupted between the coach and sporting director Luis Campos. Galtier blames Campos for poor transfer windows and squad planning, while Campos has often taken it upon himself to reprimand the players for their poor performances, sidestepping the coach entirely during halftime in the game vs AS Monaco (Goal).
- Apparently, some at the club would even welcome the return of Thomas Tuchel, who PSG sacked in favor of Pochettino a few years ago (RMC Sport).
Meanwhile, the dressing room drama continues. There are alleged tensions between the club’s two main center backs, Marquinhos and Kimpembe (Goal). This all started from the Monaco game before Bayern, where Kimpembe going to the away fans and speaking to them with a megaphone, despite Marquinhos (the captain!) advising him to ignore them.
Kimpembe has also formed a faction inside the PSG dressing room consisting of himself and some of the young players, including the immensely talented Warren Zaire-Emery, who are upset that the club always sells top talent every season and brings in high-profile players from outside. This has isolated the group within the team.
With all this toxicity in the atmosphere, things were bound to boil over. Against Lille, that’s exactly what happened. PSG started well, going up 2-0 thanks to goals from Mbappe and Neymar. But then Lille rapidly gained the initiative and scored three more, putting them 3-2 down. Neymar then went out with an ankle injury, which puts him in doubt for the next game vs Bayern.
This was too much for Luis Campos to bear. The guy just exploded.
Bizarre scenes in Paris as Sporting Director Luis Campos walks into manager Christophe Galtier’s technical area and starts shouting at officials and the players alike. pic.twitter.com/efGFUCr85i— Get French Football News (@GFFN) February 19, 2023
PSG eventually clawed their way back to a win, thanks to heroics from Mbappe and a late free kick goal from Messi. However, their performance against 6th placed Lille will only continue to pile on the pressure for Christophe Galtier and his fractured dressing room, which seems to be falling apart before our eyes.
What will the second leg of this tie even look like?
Looking at the insane dysfunction behind the scenes at PSG, you have to wonder why Bayern Munich couldn’t make more of the first leg. That exact sentiment is explored in our critical postgame review which you can listen to below or directly on Spotify.
As always, we appreciate all the support!