PSG, as every football fan must know, has ever been trying to claim a position among the elites of European club football. One can claim that in a contemporary football environment, a European club must at least once hold the Champions League trophy close to its heart. Despite Pep Guardiola’s fantastic stint at Manchester City, they were often questioned about their incapability to lift the coveted trophy. Until they did what was expected of them, adding the trophy to an illustrious treble.
PSG, like City, were rejuvenated when state-owner corporations brought the teams respectively almost a decade back. Over the past decade, the ownership and the huge influx of income are the only similarities between the clubs. Manchester City-owned by the City football group, gave much importance to building a team on solid principles, principles that are positionally dominated, principles that Pep had always believed and previously practised in Barcelona and Bayern. Also read:Lionel Messi takes his flair to Inter Miami and the MLS
PSG’s recent history places them as the sole dictator of the French League, having dominated the league for the past decade, yet it has failed to dictate any favourable outcomes in the Champions League. The closest it came to lifting the trophy was in the 2019-2020 season when under head coach Thomas Tuchel reached the final only to lose out to Bayern Munich.
For many, these were signs of PSG’s future. However, Tuchel was sacked the next summer. Mauricio Pochettino replaced the German. Needless to say, his stay on the bench did not turn out as expected. To understand PSG’s dismal efforts to lift the Champions League and their failure, one must understand the reasons which are hidden under plain sight.
PSG’s present board understands football in monopolistic terms. These have often reciprocated in their transfers, often favouring ‘star’ players instead of players that can actually help the gaffer’s philosophy. In the summer of 2021, the club brought in six players that, in every sight, were exceptional players, these included Messi, Ramos, Donnarumma, Hakimi, Nuno Mendes and Wijnaldum.
A front three of Mbappe, Neymar and Messi on paper is one of the strongest, yet on the field, the three didn’t click. Pochettino was also incapable of incorporating the strengths of the three players to find a favourable outcome. Unlike in City or Real Madrid, where star players have actually turned the tide, PSG’s blind incorporation of players has left the managers in a tough spot while turning the entire philosophy of a football club from its foundation into a business, a front, a sneak peek into the future of football where state-run clubs monopolise the sport. Also read:Osasuna banned from the UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24
PSG’s board of directors has often failed to protect and trust its managers, jumping from one to another. Neither Tuchel nor Pochettino are awful managers despite the obvious criticisms on their part. Tuchel went on to win the Champions League the following season with Chelsea, while Pochettino had taken a rather unsettled Tottenham side to the finals in 2018-19, where Liverpool defeated them.
In 2022, the club brought Luis Campos, who gave birth to the prestigious Monaco team of 2016. Campos’ most important job was to hire an adept manager, the answer to which was found in Christophe Galtier. Galtier won the league as underdogs in the 2020-21 season with Lille. Fans soon saw the front three of PSG playing significantly well, often operating closer to each other. Yet their dismal defensive structure was no match against Bayern. They did, however, win the Ligue 1 title.
This summer, Galtier has already been sacked, and Luis Enrique is his successor. Yet they have already brought in players from the market prior to appointing a new gaffer. However, one can only wish that the appointment of Enrique gives them the much-needed boost, especially with Enrique’s experiences in the Champions League with Barcelona. Enrique also needs a new environment after a catastrophic performance in the World Cup with Spain.
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