PSG, another Ligue 1 win not celebrated
A plastic club that doesn’t even know how to party anymore.
Final whistle and arms raised. Smiles, hugs, pats on the back. The water sprayed from the bottles flies. Then you go back to the changing rooms, uncork a few bottles, hop to the rhythm (always the same) of “Camp-peo-nes Camp-peo-nes olè olè olè‘, we take a group photo (always the same), post it on social media and go home. With one thought in mind: “What a crappy season.”
In fact, this year PSG have once again turned a sporting success (winning Ligue 1) into another source of frustration, envy, melancholy and irritation. Who cares about this Ligue 1 or that they have once again overtaken OM’s rivals (whom they also eliminated in the last 16 of the national cup)? Who cares about Nantes and Nice, Montpellier and Rennes, Macron and the pension reform? In Boulogne they only want one thing: you, the Champions League. But she won’t be there this year. She will be far away, in Istanbul, in someone else’s arms.
If football is a metaphor for life, then this is a love torment story from another era, with a script that is almost embarrassing in its banality. He, very rich and powerful, falls in love with her. He wants it at all costs. He will do anything to conquer her, absolutely anything. Try to subvert suitors by depriving them of the best weapons, flaunt the most expensive purchases with eye-popping vulgarity, and up the ante every summer. To make her jealous, he flaunts marginal successes like Ligue 1 and wants to show the whole world that she’s not an obsession. Which he is anyway a winner. Childish nonsense that no one believes. She knows. And escapes. Always. It appears and disappears, beautiful and fascinating precisely because it is elusive.
Only once was he on the verge of ecstasy. In one of humanity’s most bizarre years, 2020, she was waiting for him in Lisbon. It seemed the time had come. It seemed. The dream lasted 59 minutes. Long story short, a guy who grew up in PSG’s youth academy: Kingsley Coman. A terrible joke. But not the only one. The relationship between PSG and the Champions League is full of paradoxical situations. After winning the first leg 4-0, how about that famous 6-1 win in Barcelona (with two goals conceded in added time)? And what are you to think when the coach you sacked (on the bench in Lisbon) wins that damn trophy somewhere else the following year?
Were it not for the economic arrogance coupled with stupid or megalomaniac decisions, There’s almost tenderness for PSG and its supporters, forced to celebrate victories that nobody cares about. First for yourself.
The ‘cousins’ of Manchester City, another club backed by billions in oil, must at least sweat the victories: every year someone emerges in the Premier League who can seriously compete. Only Bayern in Germany are experiencing a similar situation (except this season where Bayern have combined things “like PSG”), but 6 champions on the bulletin board still have a calming force on European performance fears. Since 2011, when Nasser Al-Khelaifi took over as manager of the club, it can be said that at least half of the world’s Gotha football has passed through Paris.
Let’s go through the list quickly: A group of superstars of the caliber of Ibrahimovic, Beckham, Thiago Silva, Sergio Ramos, Buffon, Dani Alves, Donnarumma, Cavani, Di Maria, Mbappé, Messi and Neymar have been bought. To this first tier we can add the category of second tier players like Lavezzi, Verratti, Rabiot, Matuidi, Hakimi, Marquinhos, Icardi, Paredes, Navas. Not to mention the signings of people who made no difference: Fabian Ruiz, Lo Celso, Trapp, Ben Arfa, David Luiz, Draxler, Pastore, Lucas Moura.
Ditto for the trainers: Kombouarè was eliminated immediately (not very glamorous). Ancelotti, Blanc, Emery, Tuchel and Pochettino took turns with the alleged Iron Sergeant Galtier, who had already been shipwrecked at the end of winter. The rationale, roughly speaking, was to recreate the old Real Galacticos, not to mention that this group of champions worked at a club that exuded tradition even from the corner flags.
So it was tried Buy individual parts of this prestige, and paid her like any Cartier in a Doha mall. Messi, Neymar etc. etc. “They will teach us how to win.”
No, that’s not how it happened. It still doesn’t work that way. And so you’re forced to sing “Campeones” in the dressing room with tears inside and endure the ridicule of every other fan around the world. Why PSG managed the feat of becoming obnoxious too not win, without even being able to write local history. Indeed, the record for consecutive league titles currently remains firmly in the hands of Olympique Lyon, who have triumphed seven times from 2001 to 2008. PSG suffered two setbacks in Ligue 1: 2017 (Monaco) and 2021 (Lille). There’s still six damn championships left to set at least a national record.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the season ended with Messi fined for a trip to Saudi Arabia (End of Paris experience for him) and Verratti and Neymar were invited to leave by the local Ultras. The forced joy sentence never ends. It’s sad, isn’t it?