‘Uninspiring’ PSG a ‘luxury store’ wasting Messi and Mbappe talent – Philipp Lahm

Germany legend Philipp Lahm has torn into Paris Saint-Germain for being ‘as far away as ever from something to love’, claiming the club plays ‘uninspired football’ that is wasting the talent of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and others.

PSG may be seven points clear at the top of Ligue 1 but their hopes of winning a first Champions League crown ended in crushing disappointment once more at the round of 16 stage – Lahm’s former club Bayern Munich outclassing Christophe Galtier’s side to win 3-0 on aggregate.

The manner of the defeat was the most concerning aspect of the defeat for a side who boast one of the most feared forward lines in world football. Neymar was injured and unavailable to play, but in Messi and Mbappe, PSG had two greats of the game at their disposal – one potentially the greatest of all time and the other a potential heir to that throne if recent history is anything to go by.

Bayern were ruthless and clinical when they needed to be, but PSG were limp, disjointed and nowhere good enough to be crowned champions of Europe – a title they are desperate to claim after years of huge investment from their owners, Qatar Sports Investment.

In a column for The Guardian, former World Cup and Champions League winner Lahm laid out what he believes to be a ‘fundamental’ problem in Paris, stating that the club is like a ‘luxury department store’ who remain a ‘bland experience’ despite spending big on the best players in the world.

These are the highlights of what the legendary utlilty star had to say.

Marco VerrattiMarco Verratti

Marco Verratti was picked apart by Bayern / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

“Paris Saint-Germain can make you sad. In the recent defeat by Bayern Munich we saw none of the class this team should display given their players. On one hand it was a disappointment; on the other it wasn’t a surprise because PSG’s early exit from the Champions League happens all the time.

“PSG have a fundamental problem. The team play uninspired football. Marco Verratti is a case in point. He is actually a good footballer – ball-secure and strong in tackling. In a PSG shirt, however, he overestimates himself and has not internalised the role of the defensive midfielder. As a result he lacks connection with his teammates.

“In the second leg in Munich Verratti lost the ball before both goals were conceded. Afterwards he claimed foul play, although even his teammates saw no grounds for his complaints. Essentially, he took far too many risks in dangerous situations.

“Verratti is a symbol of the modern PSG. Neither the defence, midfield or attack have developed a sense of the whole and a sense of responsibility for the result. Sergio Ramos, once the epitome of a great centre-back, still demonstrates his defensive skills but they are presented in isolation. PSG are not a team.”

Lionel Messi, Kylian MbappéLionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé

Messi and Mbappe have cut frustrated figures at times / Tim Clayton – Corbis/GettyImages

“Kylian Mbappe is a story in himself. He undoubtedly has world?class skills, and he grabs hold of Ligue 1 with ease. But his talent is not embedded. In Munich he was constantly waiting for the ball to fall at his feet. It is difficult to imagine how his career will blossom in Paris.

“But it can be done. Everyone in the national team is working for success under the guidance of Didier Deschamps and thus also for Mbappé because they know his dynamism, shooting and changes of pace are unique in world football. To underline Mbappé’s importance to France, he was named their new captain by Deschamps on Tuesday.

“Mbappé is integrated in France’s team like Lionel Messi is in Argentina’s, where the head coach, Lionel Scaloni, curates his genius. One for all, all for one. Messi also showed his extra class in moments in Munich, but his skills are used without purpose or direction. The individuals at PSG simply do not know how to collectively score a goal and, generally, how to contribute. Messi was helpless and desperate at the Allianz Arena.”

Nasser Ghanim Al-KhelaifiNasser Ghanim Al-Khelaifi

Nasser Al-Khelaifi is yet to sample Champions League success / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

“One can feel sorry for PSG fans. Their hope that something will grow together dies anew every year. They surely believe in something else. PSG are as far away as ever from something to love, despite years of investment.

“This exorbitantly expensive team resemble a luxury department store, displaying precious exhibits that everyone marvels at but no one can afford. It guarantees high attention and spectacle, but only works economically. If so much money is spent but the opposite of quality is achieved, that is not good.

“Football, however, is something else. Great teams that people identify with develop in a process. This can only succeed with cooperation, solidarity and community. These are the values of Europe, but not of PSG.

“And so the club remain a bland experience. Messi said that, in retrospect, he regretted not enjoying his early years at Barcelona under Guardiola, when he and his teammates won the hearts of many fans. This wistful realisation came to him in Paris.

Qatar Sports Investments took control of Paris Saint-Germain midway through the 2011/12 season and immediately made clear their intention to become one of Europe’s top clubs. They have invested in players like no other team in France is capable of doing, and have won Ligue 1 eight times out of the last ten seasons – the majority of those title successes coming at a canter.

But that success has never been translated onto the European stage. In fact, PSG’s Champions League record is actually getting worse and worse, with a round of 16 exit coming in four of the last six seasons if you include the current campaign.

The fact they’ve cycled through managers like hot dinners – Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel, Unai Emery, Laurent Blanc, Carlo Ancelotti among their alumni in that time – reflects everything Lahm has said about club culture and a lack of anything meaningful behind the scenes.

PSG are coasting and not really going anywhere. That won’t be enough to convince Mbappe to stay. while the club’s ultras have already turned on Messi. It’s not a good situation.

LISTEN NOW

On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott SaundersGraeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss the race to sign Jude Bellingham, Antonio Conte’s Tottenham future, Roy Hodgson’s return to Crystal Palace, Erling Haaland’s contract, Mason Mount & more!

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