PSG is a powder keg | Sports| The USA Print

PSG is a powder keg |  Sports

With the sports director at the foot of the pitch, waving his arms and shouting, Paris Saint-Germain carried out their game against Lille. They changed it with two goals in the last five minutes that prevented a defeat that aimed for an explosion. But the tinderbox is still there and the fuse may not always go out along the way.

PSG had lost their last three games. The first left him out of the Cup, the second closed the gap to five points with respect to his pursuers in the League, the third put him at a disadvantage in the Champions League tie against Bayern. After that fiasco Kylian Mbappé, who forced his recovery from a muscle injury to play half an hour against the Bavarian team, stood up in public to harangue the team and fans before leaving a message to his teammates: “Now let’s recover, eat well and sleep well”, it turned out. Hours later, one of the Toiss de Neymar posted on Instagram an image of the Brazilian striker in a truffled poker timba with hamburgers.

The tension grows in Paris and in the Parc des Princes, where PSG solved a crazy game against Lille at the last minute (4-3). A direct free kick from Messi that hit the post and went into the net became an immense blanket under which the wealthy Qatari-owned team covers, for now, its miseries.

The coach Christophe Galtier defined what happened as “an elevator of emotions”. Messi’s goal shot him towards a pineapple with his players on the pitch. By then, it had been half an hour since he had the sports director Luis Campos next to the bench. The Portuguese guru of football offices had boarded another elevator to go down from the box at the foot of the grass in an unprecedented decision that evidenced the state of stress in which the entity is plunged. Campos, who also works as sports director at Celta, feels that his position at PSG is increasingly precarious, contested by the team’s heavyweights, who reproach him for his decisions in the transfer market. Galtier’s position is obviously not much stronger. The fact that after the game he said that he feels Campos’ confidence doesn’t improve it either.

Everything seemed to blow up after in just ten minutes, halfway through the second half, Lille came back from a game in which PSG scored two early goals through Neymar and Mbappé. For the second time since the World Cup, they both lined up together with Messi in an initial time for Galtier. The trio of stars did not finish the game because, shortly after returning from the break, the Brazilian sprained his right ankle and left on a stretcher in tears. Almost immediately the game went from 2-1 to 2-3 among the general stupefaction.

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The Portuguese Luis Campos works in Vigo as an “external” sports director, but in Paris it is seen that he is internal. On the previous day of the League, he had already broken into the team’s locker room during the break in the duel against Monaco. This time he took a few steps behind Galtier and was seen arguing with the fourth official and shouting orders to the players. Campos was considered a discreet man with restrained manners. His distance from the spotlight gives him an air that helps him present himself as a wise tutor. Ten years ago he made the leap to sports management at Monaco and went through Lille and Galatasaray before doing the pirouette – “I’ve been doing it for years, it’s my way of being in football,” he says – billing two clubs at the time. He also has a past as a coach. Between 1993 and 2005 he led Leiria, Esposende, Desportivo Aves, Leça, Penafiel, Gil Vicente, Vitoria de Setubal, Varzim and Beira-Mar in his country. This Sunday he went down to the arena in the Parque de los Príncipes to give orders to the most expensive squad in history. “It is not interference,” defended coach Galtier. “Luis is passionate about victory. He was angry, but he didn’t get involved in my work. He is part of the technical management, but I don’t have a problem with him being in the bench area because there is no technical-tactical intervention on his part. It’s just passion, ”he said.

With passion, but above all with Mbappé and Messi, PSG launched into an all or nothing in the last few minutes. He stripped back to look for a win that seemed essential for everyone to keep their jobs. Two minutes from ninety, an appearance by Bernat on the left ended with a pass behind that Mbappé passed into the net. And around the hour Messi, who had tiptoed through the game, forced the free kick from which the winning goal was born. “A relief, oxygen,” Galtier confessed while everyone tried to recover from the chaos experienced. But nothing stops at the Parisian phrenopathic: a visit to Marseille and a home game against Nantes will be the prelude to the second leg in Munich. Everything is still in doubt.

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