BARCELONA – Paris Saint-Germain wanted but couldn’t. He went to Manchester at a disadvantage and ended up giving in to Pep Guardiola’s City, who will take his place of debut in a final that the French team savored for the first time in August 2020. And that he lost to the same Bayern that he took revenge on this season …
Capital but incomplete, this season’s Champions League record will have a special chapter for a PSG that stormed Old Trafford in the group stage, crushed Barcelona in the round of 16 and sentenced the mighty Bayern in the quarterfinals until they crossed paths with Manchester City and surrendered to the evidence. He is among the aristocracy of football. But he is not the King.
He has once again run out of the Champions League and borders on disaster in the League, which he has conquered in seven of the last eight seasons and whose throne is about to give way to the push of the surprising and shameless Lille, as happened in 2017 with the Monaco or in 2012 with Montpellier. If confirmed, it would round out the worst season of the last decade, the worst result since Qatar acquired it and raised it injected in dollars to the top.
But in that long way there has been a name that has been repeated, first in a disguised way and in recent times already clearly, as a definitive signing. After Ibrahimovic and after Neymar or Mbappé, Leo Messi is the objective, the final signing, the player called to lead that always unfinished project.
The Argentine star ends his contract in Barcelona and his future remains in doubt. He is not in the same situation as last August, when he directly submitted an exit request, but he has not given any clues regarding his renewal and PSG has not wasted any time. Messi has on the table a proposal, which has not yet been drafted, a firm contract from the French club that offers him up to three seasons of contract for an unspecified salary but that can be guessed irrefutable and, of course, much higher than what Laporta could offer him at Barça.
In Paris, the Argentine could meet again with his friend Neymar and be part of a capital squad, with Mbappé as the third element of an unbeatable trident and the support of an unequaled team. Sportingly it is obvious that it would not be a step back for Leo … It remains to be seen if his signing would be the necessary icing for the French club in its attempt to reach the continental top.
Because today PSG is not the king and it wants to be. Since its founding in 1970 it has been a different club on the French football scene. Born from a merger and created to represent Paris in response to Milan, Munich, Madrid or Manchester, it grew in the 1980s of the last century to snatch the number one role previously held by Saint-Etienne and Marseille thanks to its acquisition by part of Canal + in 1991.
Champions semi-finalist in 1995 and champion of the defunct Recopa (playing another final and losing it to Barcelona in 1997), the emergence of Olympique de Lyon took him away from the first place on the podium, Canal + sold him and despite the presence of Ronaldinho la luz of the team paled, narrowly sparing relegation in 2007 …
The club’s agony ended in 2008, when Colony Capital took over its property, regaining its pulse, and it was catapulted from 2011, when it was sold to the Qatar Investment Authority. Since then … success. But an incomplete success. Untouchable dominator of French football thanks to millionaire investments in the transfer market, PSG had their goal in the Champions League. And then to his obsession, an obsession that always, always ends up bringing him down.
He touched the sky with his hands in 2020 and was executed, what things are, by a goal from Kingsley Coman, a boy born in Paris, a PSG youth squad since he was eight years old and who left the club in 2014 observing the few options that he would have to succeed in a team made with a checkbook. A checkbook that does not seem to end and that is capable of responding to a threat from Barcelona with Verratti as the protagonist by signing Neymar without disheveled.
But it has not been enough until today. Neither Neymar nor Mbappé, the jewel in the crown for the fans, have been able to lead that final step to the top and it is understood that from Paris the resolution of the Spanish League is addressed in a special way. If Barça is not able to win the title, it is suspected that there will be more options to convince Messi to attend to the offer of PSG, which will offer him everything he could want to convince him.
And for him to lead, under Pochettino’s command, a team that, more than ever, will live with the obsession of achieving a Champions League that this Tuesday, once again, eluded him.