Barcelona were far from pleasant as they turned up to training two days after the loss against Paris Saint-Germain at the Camp Nou, as per a report by AS. Kylian Mbappe showed no mercy to the Catalan giants as he tore through the Blaugrana defence, ending the tie in the first leg itself. Post this, the team was given a two-day off ahead of their La Liga encounter against Cadiz.
The report also states that Ronald Koeman talked to the players before the training session kick-started, knowing that the loss would still be weighing heavily on the players. Koeman said, “We can still do great things this year, but the main thing is to turn the page, look forward and keep growing.”
After a run of impressive games in late December and January, Barcelona have been stumped twice already in February. In fact, the first-leg defeat against PSG in the Champions League followed a first-leg defeat against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey. While these games were sandwiched between a 5-1 drubbing of Real Betis, Barcelona’s mentality in big games has been far from ideal.
Be it the 3-1 El Clasico loss early on in the season, or the drubbing at the hands of Juventus in the Champions League at the Camp Nou, Barça have looked shaky as soon as a team with an equally adept squad has been thrown at them in any competition.
Lionel Messi in training earlier today. pic.twitter.com/SEusqeZcRJ— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 19, 2021
This loss in morale comes at about the usual time for the club — near or during the UCL knockouts. Last season it was the embarrassment suffered at the hands of Bayern Munich, the season before Liverpool, and before that AS Roma.
The team is stuck in a vicious cycle, and there seems to be little to no way out of it. The next few months will be very crucial for the team with the Presidential elections, Lionel Messi’s contract issues, and the summer transfer window around the corner.
Just in: Neymar’s entourage confirms renewal with PSG as he ‘likes the project’
Fabrizio Romano has broken huge news as part of Neymar’s contract situation with Paris Saint-Germain, which all but officially announces that the Brazilian will be staying in France, contrary to what has been reported recently. The report suggests that that he will sign his extension soon, which is bound to include a massive UCL bonus.
Neymar’s entourage have confirmed his decision to stay with the Paris outfit in conversation with France Football, saying, “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project.”
Neymar is expected to sign soon his new contract with Paris Saint-Germain until June 2026, huge UCL bonus confirmed too. His entourage just announced to France Football: “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project”. 🇧🇷 #PSG https://t.co/LMnrpctSkx— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 12, 2021
PSG have, in fact, actually enjoyed success in Europe in the recent past. They reached the Champions League final last season, crumbling only to the unstoppable Bayern Munich by a mere one goal to nil. Since then, they have fired Thomas Tuchel, and hired Mauricio Pochettino, who inspired an incredible victory against Bayern in this season’s Champions League quarters. Spearheaded by Neymar and Mbappe, the capital-side hit the defending champions for three goals, conceding two.
Despite their lead in the UCL, they do not have a stronghold on the trophy with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Real Madrid still in the running. It becomes a lot more problematic when you realise their situation in Ligue 1.
PSG look far from comfortable in the league, which is a shocker to say the least. As it stands, Pochettino’s mean are in second place with 66 points, three adrift of Lille who top the table with one of the most impressive defensive records in Europe.
A season without either of the big trophies might force Neymar to have a change of mind, with the Barcelona project looking much more comprehensive under Joan Laporta. In fact, the new President might look at the Brazilian as the key that will allow Lionel Messi to stay at the club. We do the same rumours annually, so it is only fair if any of these ‘confirmations’ are turned on their head in the coming weeks.