Dubai: Too many cooks spoil the broth. Paris Saint Germain have a plethora of superstars such as Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Sergio Ramos and Marco Verratti. But the French champions are currently going through a serious crisis both on and off the pitch. And the reason for that is the big names and their even bigger egos.
When you have too many stars at a club who all believe they are number one, it sounds like a recipe for disaster. And I think this is what we are now seeing at PSG.
The team is 90 minutes away from being eliminated in the Champions League after losing the first leg 1-0 against Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes last week. That was their third consecutive defeat. They were earlier dumped out of the Coupe de France by Marseille and lost against Monaco in Ligue 1.
Coach Christophe Galtier is under intense pressure and has been at the receiving end of criticism for his tactics during games. The rumours are growing that he will be replaced by Zinedine Zidane, even though PSG remain five points clear at the top of the table. But that is not good enough – and there are far too many issues currently dogging the club. Something has to give.
They have been troubled from the very start of the season in fact. Who can forget the controversy due to the penalty-taking feud between Kylian Mbappe and Neymar? Former Real Madrid captain Ramos was forced to separate the fighting pair. Mbappe then told PSG they should sell the Brazilian who has upset the club several times in the past with his attitude. The 31-year-old almost joined Chelsea in the summer but no deal could be agreed and so he remained in France.
The last thing Galtier would have wanted was other dressing room problems but he is also dealing with the fractured relationship between captain Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe. The two centre-backs have been at odds with one another over a recent incident with fans. Marquinhos felt Kimpembe’s actions after the loss to Monaco was a direct attack on his leadership after telling his team-mates not to approach fans at full time. But Kimpembe walked over to them and apologized for the team’s performance - using a megaphone no less. Subsequently, he was applauded by the fans but it has caused tension between him and Marquinhos with the pair now not on talking terms.
At the same match, Neymar was involved in an argument with sporting director Luis Campos which did not go down well with the player or Galtier. Campos stormed into the team’s dressing room at half time and ranted at the players with the team losing 3-1. The director is believed to have vented his fury in particular at Neymar. It is understood the striker was stunned that the story managed to get out and he has vowed to find out who leaked it to the media. Galtier, meanwhile, was said to be incensed that the sporting director addressed the players, as it is not his job. The relationship between the pair has been declining for a while what with Galtier annoyed with Campos’s business in the transfer market. And now Mbappe has seemingly hit out at Neymar.
The France international spoke of the importance of PSG players “eating well and sleeping well” with the advice appearing to be a dig at the former Barcelona star.
'Eat and sleep well'
The day after the Bayern defeat the Brazilian went to the European Poker Tour in Paris and was later pictured in a McDonald’s in the French capital. “We worked day and night,” Mbappe said after the game. “Our players have to be in good health for the return leg, everyone needs to eat and sleep well.” Neymar did the exact opposite.
There is clearly a battle for power developing at PSG with several players believing they are the stars of the team. But Neymar’s actions are totally unprofessional. He just doesn’t seem to care about football or his teammates. He looks like he wants to have fun and nothing else, no matter what the cost. He is the most expensive footballer of all time after PSG signed him from the Camp Nou in a stunning £200 million move in 2017. He has scored 117 goals in 172 appearances for the French club but there is a feeling that he has failed to hit the huge expectations that many predicted.
These are testing times for PSG and the feeling is that several players could be off-loaded in the summer and a rebuild, possibly with a new manager at the helm, can begin.