It is no longer a sign, it is a 4 by 3 poster, as discreet as a Nasser who ensures that financial fair play still exists before refusing 200 million for Mbappé one year from the end of his contract. PSG begins its Champions League season this Wednesday evening in Bruges, escorted by the status of big favorite of the competition, or at least that of a team that everyone will want to stuff themselves. It is that we do not carry around a triplet Messi-Neymar-Mbappé without risking a small control at the customs. “If they’re in good shape, they’re players you just can’t stop,” former City defender Joleon Lescott told the English press earlier this week.
The whole of Europe is waiting for the faux pas
This summer, Paris gave itself the means to get what it has aspired to for 10 years now, but at the same time has posed itself a sort of ultimatum. If they do not win the C1 this season, with the experience of a final and a half the last two seasons and with the reinforcements of Messi, Ramos, Hakimi, Donnarumma, Wijnaldum and Nuno Mendes, the disappointment would be. the height of the hopes raised by this crazy summer. Immense.
“The pressure is more important now, with the arrival of Leo. It is clear that the Champions League is the main objective, even more than before, ”observed Angel Di Maria in an interview with ESPN last month. The Argentinian star herself expressed her European ambition as soon as she was introduced. “PSG were very close to winning it. My dream is to win it a fifth time, ”said Messi barely setting foot in Paris.
Obsessed by this ultimate trophy, Parisians know that the whole of Europe is waiting to pay their respects. The club did not only make friends in Europe with these XXL signatures, perceived as a distortion of competition in an economy that already had little more rational and balanced. “A lot of people want to see us fail,” knows coach Mauricio Pochettino, interviewed by Canal before the start of the ball. One can imagine from here Javier Tebas, frustrated boss of La Liga, organizing tapas evenings at home with the German leaders, ready to sip champagne as soon as public enemy number 1 passes through the window.
Maybe a little bit too much. In any case, Tebas’s animosity is not representative of what is being said in Spain. “We should not overestimate an anti-PSG hatred, assures us David Alvarez, who covers Real Madrid for The country. There are a lot of Messi fans out there who would love to see him win a new Champions League before retirement, for example. In Spain, we see a lot of children with the PSG jersey flocked with his name. “
Incredible players for an incredible team?
The football fans, and still happy, remain interested in the course of their clubs before anything else. “In general, as long as Real or Barça are in the running, PSG will be quiet,” continues our colleague. But after that, when the knockout rounds arrive, I guess there will be some aversion to seeing PSG win. “
Too bad for them, because winning no longer seems an objective but an obligation for Parisians. “No, there is no obligation, cuts the former midfielder Vincent Guérin. It would be too easy. Nothing is ever won in advance. We can field the best team, that does not prevent us from going through one evening. The workforce is incredible, the ambition has been there for several years, but PSG is not alone in the world. Manchester United has grown enormously, there is always City, Chelsea, Bayern. The Spaniards are a bit in the hollow, perhaps, after losing their stars, but they are still giants. “
In reality, it will all depend on how it pins down on the pitch for Paris. Messi, Neymar and Mbappé, to speak only of the most flashy, will have to learn to evolve together. “I see it as a great challenge for us to play as a team, which must use all the talent it is supposed to have,” Pochettino said in the report. “We have incredible players, but we have to become an incredible team,” continued Georgino Wijnaldum in The team, Tuesday. When we won it with Liverpool [en 2019], we had faced PSG and Barça, and they had very good teams. But we had a superior team and that’s what made the difference. “
This is also the opinion of Ronaldo, well placed to talk about the accumulation of offensive stars and European failures. “I played for Real Madrid for five seasons, in the Galacticos team and I never won the Champions League. Winning is never mathematical, this also applies to PSG, exposes the Brazilian in a series dedicated to him on DAZN. There are a lot of factors that come into play. ”
DNA in the process of mutating?
Among them, an aspect not really palpable, which returns especially in the great discussions post-traumatic defeats: the famous “DNA of the club”. Some, abroad, would own the winning molecule. PSG could always brush up, him, with his comeback and his elimination at home by the U19s of ManU in the luggage.
The 2020 final, like Barcelona and Bayern eliminations last season, still sketched the idea that there was no fatality. All that remains is to fire. “I’m not going to come here and say that PSG is the best team in the world, nor the one to beat, Marquinhos said at a press conference on Tuesday. We are here to fight on the ground. You’re not going to win a game just with names. Seems it helps, though.