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Analyzing PSG’s Recruitment

Paris Saint Germain were recently reminded of their painful 2020 Champions League final loss as Bayern Munich once-again defeated them in Europe’s premier club competition.

Kingsley Coman got the only goal in the game as the 2022 World Cup runner-up repeated his heroics in Lisbon two-and-a-half years ago. Ironically, the Frenchman’s goal poured more salt on the many wounds of his country’s biggest club. PSG’s owners stated they club ‘had’ to win the Champions League within four years - though that statement came nine years ago now.


Success Limited To Domestic Front

The super-clubs Qatari owners pinpointed the 2017/18 season as their target for Champions League glory, yet the club crashed out in the Round of 16 to eventual winners Real Madrid. A half-decade later, and the club has never looked so unlikely to attain European immortality. 

A frustrating fact remains true - Marseille, PSG’s archrivals, remain the only French side to have won the iconic competition, and that was 30 years ago now. Hundreds of millions of Euros have been invested, superstars have arrived, and transfer records have been smashed, yet PSG’s success remains limited to their domestic competitions. 

Their fans must be at the end of their tethers wondering what else they can do. They’ve hired solid coaches in Thomas Tuchel and Mauricio Pochettino, they’ve signed Neymar and Kylian Mbappè for an eye-watering amount of money, and they’ve even secured the services of perhaps the greatest player of all-time. 

Yet the club is on the verge of yet another barren season in Europe. What’s going wrong? 

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The Harlem Globetrotters Approach 

PSG’s team for the Bayern Munich game featured Lionel Messi, Neymar, Sergio Ramos, and Marquinhos. On-paper, this team should easily dispatch most of their opponents by playing slick, attacking football with plenty of defensive solidity. 

It was, however, an insipid display by Christophe Galtier’s side and the Valentine’s Day clash marked their 5th defeat in 2023 so far. 

A downside of the club’s’ Harlem Globetrotters’ recruitment policy has been the players’ inability to deal with pressure situations. In Ligue 1, PSG are feared by every other team and most of their games consist of the perpetual Champions having the lion’s share of possession and breaking teams down. The Champions League, however, is a different story, and the players who are so used to success seem to never have the answers when the pressure is on. 

Big players can also bring big egos. If just a singular PSG superstar cuts a jaded figure, then the malaise can trickle down the dressing room and ruin any morale previously cultivated. 

It also doesn’t help that Messi and Neymar aren’t exactly the most mobile of forwards. The Argentine was used to great effect at the World Cup, but the different personnel and emotion for playing for the Selecction renders this a moot point. Neymar is also supremely talented, but he’s hardly a player who’ll lead the pressing charts at the end of a game. 

Bayern covered 8km more distance than PSG during the encounter - yet more evidence that PSG need to work a lot harder than they’re used to if they want the club’s name to finally be added to the famous trophy. 

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Inexperience And Trauma in Europe 

When PSG reached the final of the 2019/20 Champions League, hopes were high that the club would undo the stinging pain of their previous exits from the competition. 

Infamous defeats against Barcelona and Manchester United seemed to cement the ‘PSG curse’ and the ghosts of those defeats continue to linger inside the PSG dressing room. The past trauma, combined with the club’s lack of European pedigree, are issues so deep that even the most expensive transfer will just paper over the cracks. 

Ridding the club of its past heartache requires winning the competition, and nothing else. If the cash-loaded owners are serious about taking the club to the next level in Europe, then they must sign players on workrate rather than name-value. 

There’s still time for PSG to write their own comeback story, as the two teams will meet again in Munich. If they want to analyse some of the greatest Champions League comeback victories, then all they have to do is search through their own video vault. 





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V: 1.38.0 All rights reserved. August 2021