The whistles of the public at the Parc des Princes against Lionel Messi and Neymar caused more talk than the Parisian victory against Bordeaux. By targeting the two South American icons, PSG supporters targeted the sports (or rather marketing) strategy of the capital club. Which is not a lèse-majesté crime.
For once, it was not the images of the anecdotal goals of Kylian Mbappé, Neymar or Leandro Paredes against Bordeaux that went around the world, but a sound, a noise, the very one that rose from the stands of the Parc des Princes for more than 90 minutes. Four days after the rout of Madrid in mondovision, PSG supporters welcomed Lionel Messi and Neymar, their heroes of yesterday, with whistles. It seems that it is only in France that we see this, in any case that is what those who have forgotten that Messi was booed at Camp Nou in 2014, like Cristiano Ronaldo, want us to believe. had been at Santiago-Bernabéu in 2017. “Football has no memory” , reacted in heart on Twitter Luis Suárez and Cesc Fàbregas, friends of the two former Catalans. It is not a question of memory, but of outlet and history. Lovers laugh at Messi’s glorious past at Barca, they only have eyes for their club and what they see, that is, not much for many months. What happened near Auteuil on Sunday afternoon is not a lese majesty crime or an absolute disgrace, it is even good news for football.
The definition of supporter
The Parc des Princes has not yet completely become a new Disneyland, and Parisian supporters are not (all) customers only good enough to pay to marvel at the new attractions of the capital’s club, or to laugh at being able to return home with a plaid donated by a sponsor. It’s a reassuring observation, almost comforting at a time when football is constantly changing and moving away from what made it so popular. This Sunday, the Collectif Ultras Paris, its supporters and all the other Parisian fans scattered in the stands have chosen to demonstrate their discontent peacefully. In any case, without physical violence or outbursts. Icons are not untouchable, not in football. Idols can be challenged, no rule, even tacit, prohibits it. How can you blame them for being frustrated not to see one of the best players in the history of the game shine in their beloved jersey? At the height of summer, there were thousands waiting to see Messi appear at a window at Le Bourget airport as the pope is expected in Saint-Pierre square. It was another time, that of the unreal, of infinite dreams and illusions. The one also where Mbappé was not yet the king of Paris nor the darling of the Park. This Sunday, the French international was spared, he was even applauded, even celebrated; last August, he too was booed. The supporters are not paid to be right, they pay to live their passion.
Whistles, the end of recess
The challenge may be too late, but the CUP did not wait for the sinking of Madrid to express its dissatisfaction and concern at the project led by Nasser al-Khelaïfi and Leonardo. Before the round of 16 first leg against Real, the Auteuil corner had already deployed many banners during the reception of Rennes, warning that their patience had ” limits ” . This weekend, the security services of the Parisian enclosure intercepted dozens of rolls of toilet paper and new banners intended for the leaders. The anger therefore focused on Messi and Neymar, whistled from start to finish and symbols of the sports (or rather marketing) strategy of Paris Saint-Germain, this club more interested in opening a store in New York. than by a Ligue 1 or Coupe de France match. The elimination against Real Madrid is not a drop of water, it is an electric shock, a brutal awakening reminding the relentless PSG that they had made the mistake of accepting to sacrifice their values to dream much more big. Only, the duty of memory is not only to remember the brilliant reign of Messi or the talent of Neymar, it is to respect the past of a football club which is no longer really one.
By Clement Gavard