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PSGs Champions League failure highlighttheir weaknesfor glam     เวลา:2023-03-16 12:39  เรียกดู:

Kylian Mbapperemoved his captains armband and trudged towards his exit. Behind him,Lionel Messifollowed suit, the two jewels in Paris Saint-Germains crown heading straight for the tunnel without thought for anything, or anyone, else.

Mbappe reaches the byline first, as aPSGofficial tries to talk to him, perhaps encouraging him to stay on the pitch, but the forward takes no notice. He acceptsKingsley Comans handshake and then waits, impatiently and prophetically, for the tunnel entrance to slowly lift up out of the ground, to let him leave.

Here, in the wreckage of another Champions League failure, is PSG laid bare, the glitter-coated skin pulled back to reveal its true essence.

As the majority follow Messi and Mbappe and disappear into the night, on the pitch, a handful remain. These included the injured captainMarquinhos, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos,Danilo Pereiraand substitute Hugo Ekitike. They acknowledge the travelling support. There is frustration and disillusionment following the worst of all defeats but it is expressed through disunity and disconnection. Bayern, celebrating in front of their raucous home support, progressed as a team where PSG failed as individuals. It is a familiar tale for a club trapped in others schadenfreude.

For the fifth time in seven seasons, PSG have fallen at the last-16 stage of the Champions League. It is a record of perpetual failure in the tournament that defines their seasons. Despite the embarrassment of riches in attack, they failed to score across 180 minutes of football against a Bayern Munich side that never really had to reach fifth gear. They waited for PSG to inflict their own wounds.

Ill let people judge, said coach Christophe Galtier, the next coach staring at the blade of a Parisian guillotine. We know the importance of the Champions League at PSG, there are big expectations. If we are only league champions, is it a bad season? The big regret is that we werent beaten with all our strength in this tie.

The inside track of PSGs Champions League failure

Injuries played a key role, from Mbappes absence in Paris to the loss of Neymar in Munich, followed by Marquinhos and Nordi Mukiele on the field last night. Marquinhos had a rib injury before the game and tried, and failed, to play through it. Mukiele, who replaced Marquinhos on 36 minutes, was a doubt too, and he lasted barely 10 minutes before having to withdraw.

Yet the impact of these injuries also told its own story. With Mukiele injured, 17-year-old El Chadaille Bitshiabu was introduced to make his Champions League debut. For a team wishing to play with a back three, as they have done for much for the season, the fact that three injuries including Presnel Kimpembe, who was ruled out for the season at Marseille last month left them with only an academy defender, proved decisive.

PSG wanted to sign another central defender, long-term target Milan Skriniar, in January. He will now join in the summer on a free transfer after no agreement was reached withInter, who were seeking a replacement. Misfortune, maybe, but these small details matter on the biggest stages.

The changes against Bayern left PSG unbalanced, and they lost the impetus they had in the first half. Bayern raised their level and inevitably, it was Bitshiabus hospital pass to Marco Verratti that would lead to the calamitous first goal. PSG could not find a way back.

Moments like those add further scrutiny of the clubs recruitment, which privileges the great in attack without building a team to make the most of their talent.

Under the spotlight is the project overseen by Luis Campos, the football advisor who has held sway this season. Campos reputation, forged at Monaco and Lille, is on finding gems and nurturing them into stars but at a club that wants success now, his presence feels like another layer of Parisian dissonance.

His new signings have not captured the imagination, and it was pertinent that one of them,Vitinha, missed PSGs biggest chance of the game in the first half. The Portugal midfielder saw his left-footed shot cleared off the line byMatthijs de Ligtwith the goal gaping, a moment Galtier called the turning point.

In the second half,Leon Goretzkaalso found himself through with the goal gaping but he had the presence of mind to find Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to score. It was the type of big-game composure that was lacking from Vitinha, who rushed his effort.

The contrasts with Bayern were endless. Beyond Bitshiabu, Galtiers replacements were defender Juan Bernat, 20-year-old Ekitike and Warren Zaire-Emery, who was celebrating his 17th birthday. Julian Naglesmann turned toJoao Cancelo, Sadio Mane,Leroy SaneandSerge Gnabry. PSG had the glamour but lacked the squad, and thats a reflection of their work in the market.

Its not related to construction, its the story of a season, Galtier said. We missed important players. The available squad was, over the tie, very weak.

Galtier spoke of focusing on the league but he will know better than anyone that the season is all but done and his future is perilous, tied as it is to the Campos project. More existential questions remain. Not least on Mbappe, who, as one of the few PSG players happy to take questions after full-time, said he was calm about his future. But there is also Neymar, who is set for surgery on his ankle, and Messi, whose contract is expiring, as well as uncertainty following an offer to buyManchester Unitedfronted by a Qatari, Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani. There are unknowns everywhere.

It is the fallout that everyone awaits and that, damningly, has become customary.

It is, and continues to be, the Parisian way.

(Top photo: Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Peter Rutzleris a football reporter covering Fulham for The Athletic. Previously, he covered AFC Bournemouth. Before The Athletic, he worked as sports journalist for MailOnline, the Scottish Daily Mail, the Independent and the i newspaper.Follow Peter on Twitter@peterrutzler

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