Paris Saint-Germain crashed out of the UEFA Champions League in the round of 16 on Wednesday with aat Allianz Arena which completed a 3-0 aggregate demise. It was not even that much of a disappointment in the end as Christophe Galtier’s shorthanded side fell back on bad old habits and produced a below-par display reflective of their post-World Cup form.
Not quite at the level of some of PSG’s previous worst nights in Europe such as the 2020 UCL final loss to Bayern, a 3-1 home defeat to Manchester United and Remontada, it was still dismal. On top of that, it could prove costly for Ligue 1 with the UEFA coefficient situation really tightening up which could see France fall out of the top five.
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First and foremost, PSG and Lionel Messi now have a major decision to make regarding their future with the legendary Argentine out of contract this summer and Les Parisiens needing to cut wages. Messi, 35, was a passenger for most of the game in Bavaria and barely registered over the 90 minutes while at least Kylian Mbappe tried to make things happen in a limited setup.
Neymar is unlikely to be on the move given his recent surgery and Mbappe’s contract protects PSG from the European vultures for at least one more summer. However, the out is there with Messi and even an improved second season at Parc des Princes does not make this any less of a debatable move.
Luis Campos now must decide how to reconstruct the attack around the focal point of Mbappe but potentially still with Neymar involved. Therefore, maybe it is time to allow Messi to move on and take up one of his other suitors on their interest and leave Europe behind for good.
Sergio Ramos rolled back the years with a decent display in Germany and can still expect to move on this summer with his deal also coming to an end. Presnel Kimpembe was not on the field to represent himself but will not be on the move while Marquinhos and Marco Verratti will likely stay on due to their contract situations.
Messi and Ramos might not be the only ones leaving this summer with Galtier having massively failed his biggest test so far and allowing PSG to prematurely exit Europe and the Coupe de France. With Zinedine Zidane back on the market and of the pedigree that the Ligue 1 leaders seek in the Champions League, the Frenchman’s time may well be here.
“It is too early,” said Galtier post game. “My future depends on the sports management side and the president. Obviously, there is disappointment. The club pinned bit hopes of this competition. I like to stay the course. I remain focused on the end of season. We will have to get over this disappointment quickly.”
Despite quite a drab performance, especially in the second half, there were some positives with Warren Zaire Emery’s cameo and El Chadaille Bitshiabu’s involvement something to build on. However, PSG’s next iteration must be built exclusively around Mbappe with new elements such as the arriving Milan Skriniar and the electric Nuno Mendes.
The likes of Verratti and even the unfortunate Marquinhos cannot keep getting let off the hook for their involvement in so many repeat disappointments. Another big question concerns Qatar’s appetite to develop the project any further now that the World Cup has passed and PSG are still so far from Champions League success.
The French champions have never looked so far from being what they set out to be and now sweeping changes feel inevitable to stand any chance of getting there in the future. They bought the best and that still has not been good enough so how long until the lesson is learned that it is not just about throwing money about?
If the past is anything to go by, not anytime soon. The amount of times their former players contribute to their downfall suggests that at least some of the response could lie within.