A free transfer was all it took French giants Paris Saint Germain to land then six-time Balon d’or winner Lionel Messi from Barcelona in a summer wind which saw four other heavyweights including Sergio Ramos, Giorginio Wijnaldum and Gianluigi Donnaruma join through the same means costing Zero transfer fee. With the exception of Nuno Mendes and Achraf Hakimi as the cash-spent transfers in that window.
A much dominant Parisian side was what everyone expected as these players will be teaming up with several stars such as Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and Neymar already in the setup. Sadly, the Pochettino-led side’s performances between the summer and this winter hasn’t lifted eyes and blown caps.
Not long ago Argentine superstar Lionel Messi added another feather to his feather-filled cap, a record seventh Balon d’or award against whatever the odds that may have stood his way. However performance-wise, the same can’t be said about Messi on the pitch for PSG neither can stories be told about PSG’s on-pitch performances.
Scrappy wins have followed woeful draws for the side and at times we’ve seen them brought down to earth by clubs below their pedigree.
A recent 1-1 draw against Lorient added to woeful outings against Club Brugge (UCL), Lille (Trophee des Champions), City (UCL) and the likes raised further questions about what’s really going on internally with Messi and the Paris based side.
No doubt the former Barcelona playmaker has found it difficult to adapt to French football as his contributions failed to earn him a spot among the Ligue 1 Team of the Season although club director has waxed lyrical about his (Messi) impact so far.
Details of the behind the scene happenings are now starting to surface with splits in the playing squad and other players having scores to settle.
After winning his Balon d’or, Messi organized celebrations at a private event alongside PSG teammates including his close friend and international team-mate Leandro Paredes. A celebration which would rule them both out of the following day’s training session due to illness as confirmed by the club. the training session was on the eve of their Ligue 1 clash against Nice, a game in which both players performed below expectations as PSG laboured to a 0-0 draw.
Following the game was a disgruntlement among many within the club as the club turned blind eyes and deaf ears at how frequently they party without repercussions.
Later Brazilian star Neymar missed a scheduled appointment with club’s sponsors and L’Equipe gathered credible information that PSG director Leonardo didn’t discipline the former Santos and Barcelona winger. Neymar according to the claims, should have been disciplined by the club but a fear of bad press acted as a deterrent, a decision which didn’t sit well with other players and officials.
Also said to be existing is a sort of South American clique in the dressing room with frontrunners been Neymar and Messi, others such as Paredes, Marquinhos, Rafinha and Di Maria while in existence is a separate group of French speaking players, one led Hakimi alongside Mbappe who is reported to be less close to the South American group.
Discipline-wise, PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino tried to impose discipline in his first months at the helm, obvious was after a league defeat at Nantes but has since given up having being overwhelmed with the situation.
Also inclusive is the Mauro Icardi and wife Wanda Nara situation, with the pair falling out publicly in the club’s car park as well as absence from training to fix things but not with the consent of the club.
Furthermore, Donnaruma signing was to provide competition for star goalie Keylor Navas but there is said to be disquiet in the department also.
Finally, within the pages of this article will include Sergio Ramos’ situation. There is reason to believe that spaniard expressed surprise at meal between players at the club facilities are not compulsory, a practice which the former Real Madrid star believes is fundamental to his successes at Madrid and Spanish national team.
All these put together aren’t far from what is hindering PSG’s wheel of progress if by any chance it’s not.
Although, it’s been slow and steady for the side enjoying double-digit points advantage at the top of the league and also through to the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League, their performances beyond the paper and chemistry in the squad calls for concern with many wondering and thinking;
When will PSG win a Champions League title??