PSG is building a team, but Messi and Neymar are still decisive
They trampled Nantes in the Supercup
The Paris superclub in the offseason announced a re-launch of the project. Its central figure according to PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is Kylian Mbappe. The star, whose transfer to Real Madrid was considered almost a done deal, was persuaded to stay in Paris and sign a new contract. The terms of the agreement, of course, are fantastic, but with each step the management confirms its loyalty to the new principles – the rejection of glamour and betting on the players who are ready to die on the field for the PSG logo.
Luis Campos, who actually serves as sporting director, has a fantastic eye for talent. It was he who assembled the champion squads of Monaco and Lille, who managed to break the hegemony of Paris. And now PSG is looking for players who are young and hungry for wins. Vitinha, Yugo Ekitic, Nordy Mukiele are already in the French capital. The transfer of Nuno Mendes has been bought after a one-year lease. Renato Sanchez is about to sign, and the fans are demanding to keep Calimuendo-Muenga who had a fantastic season at Lens.
New head coach Christophe Galtier is another symbol of the Parisian restructuring. A hard worker with strict requirements and a love of discipline, which begins with little things like eating together at the club base and banning the use of smartphones during this time. But, of course, this is not the transformation of a nightclub into a barracks.
On the contrary, Galtier has a good rapport with the stars. The coach admires Lionel Messi, who at 34 after leaving Barcelona actually started a new life. In addition, Galtier immediately made it clear that he counts on Neymar, who at one point was offended by a number of statements by Al-Hellaifi and rumors about the club’s desire to get rid of him.
And the main stars of Paris seem to have understood and accepted the new demands. The way PSG played brightly and vividly in the Super Cup match (and even in the absence of Mbappe) was impressive. And it does not matter that it was, in fact, an exhibition match, and the opponent was only Nantes.
Remember how this team played with the Parisians in February? From the impudence and good sportsmanship of the “canaries” champion turned into something amorphous and completely gutless. Now the head coach of the French Cup winner Antoine Comboire was only sadly looking at the field, where Nantes had a chance of zero point zero.
Messi scored a superb goal after a solo pass. Neymar, whose every movement was effortless, responded with a small masterpiece on the penalty spot. And Sergio Ramos, who will be comfortable in the new scheme with three central defenders, sent the ball into the goal with the heel.
In general, the new generation is coming, but the veterans are fine. Although someone, like Angel Di Maria, ended up being superfluous. Jorginho Wijnaldum and Julian Draxler, Idrissa Gay and Leuven Kurzawa will be gone. The future of Thilo Querer and Andrés Herrera is unclear. The new Parisian broom is in action, only not everything is so clear-cut.
Take Pablo Sarabia, for example. The Spaniard was an important figure for Thomas Tuchel, then proved superfluous for Mauricio Pochettino. However, Galtier has his own view, and now the Spaniard, who had a great loan spell at Sporting, remains, despite Atletico Madrid’s substantive interest.
At the Super Cup, Sarabia was in the starting lineup, and of all the newcomers there only Portuguese talent Vitinha, who displaces Leandro Paredes from the ranks. By and large, the real changes are just beginning. And a refreshed Neymar and Messi are at the helm of that process. Leo has won his 41st trophy, and there are only two titles left to catch up with the world record holder and old friend Dani Alves. That is enough of a double in France, but in Paris they dream not of that, but of the Champions League. And why shouldn’t this miracle happen before the great Argentine returns to Barcelona? Now that would be a real fairy tale.