In his annual interview in which he distributes the good and bad points, the president of Paris-SG Nasser al-Khelaïfi declared the end of the bling-bling within the Parisian club announcing, between the lines, the beginning of a new cycle. who will not be embodied by Zinedine Zidane. Should we really believe this paradigm shift when, every year, the Parisian management declares everything and its opposite in this annual end-of-season report to please its base?
“The exploits of a lone knight in a dangerous world. The knight and his mount! A hero of modern times, the last resort of the innocent, the hopeless, victims of a cruel and pitiless world”. Nasser al-Khelaïfi’s annual interview could easily fit into the credits of K-2000 in which David Hasselhoff strives to save the world. The Parisian boss has a more delicate mission: to put his club on the way to victory in the Champions League, QSI’s ultimate goal since the takeover of the Parisian club in 2011. The season which has just passed is without doubt the worst, sportingly, since this famous takeover. A title of champion gleaned under the whistles of his own public, a shunned coach, poor communicator and boring as possible in the game, two lost national titles (Trophée des Champions and Coupe de France) and an incredible liquefaction on the lawn of Madrid in round of 16 second leg of the C1. As every year, to remobilize his troops and announce the color of the next season, the boss of PSG spoke in The Parisian. As in previous years, the interview contains a great many announcement effects. Excerpts: “The fans disappointed to have Galtier and not Zidane? The dream is one thing, the reality another. Dream Bigger is good but today, we must above all be realistic, we no longer want flashy, bling-bling. Whoever wants to remain in his comfort, who does not want to fight, he will stay aside. You have to create a real team, find a real collective spirit. We want players who are proud to represent PSG. Players who are not part of the project will have to leave. Some took advantage of the situation, now it’s over! »
As every year, words but when the actions?
A year after securing the services of bling-bling players par excellence (Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos), NAK argues that this era is already over as the club recently opened a store on the 5th New York Avenue. As for the players invited to leave if they do not fit into the Parisian collective mould, Nasser al-Khelaïfi had declared the same thing during his annual interview of 2019 to our colleagues from France Soccer : “The players will have to assume their responsibilities even more than before. It has to be completely different. They will have to do more, work more. They are not here to have fun. And if they don’t agree, the doors are open. Ciao! I don’t want to behave like stars anymore. »
Without forgetting that in 2016, at the end of the elimination against Manchester City, NAK had also announced big changes in the columns of the Parisian : “Big changes are coming, a new cycle will start, you’ll see. In any case, if we continue like this at all levels, we will not get there. I just make an observation and I analyze the results and the skills of everyone: the players, the coach, the management. Developments are needed. »
Three years later in France Soccerhe spoke again and again of changing everything: “I realized that changes were essential, otherwise we were going nowhere. » In the same interview, he confirmed that Leonardo had to change everything: “Leo, he’s my guy. He is incredible. I have complete confidence in him. His natural authority will do everyone good, especially the players. »
Neymar, the ideal scapegoat
Finally, nothing has really changed at Paris-SG. The players still have so much power and don’t want to leave the club, even when they’re not playing. Management hasn’t changed much either (the women’s team season is a model of mismanagement at all levels). NAK wears too many hats (BeIn, racket sports in Qatar, UEFA) to be able to give 100% and on a daily basis at Paris-SG, a club not really like the others. At PSG, the years follow one another and look alike. We let everyone do their thing for 10 months and we publicly announce every year, at the end of the season, that everything will change next year. But nothing really changes. The evils persist. Always the same. Every summer, we have to find culprits to support the reasoning. Between the lines, for this annual media outing, Neymar is targeted. The bling-bling player par excellence who does not devote himself enough to the project. The Brazilian has undoubtedly disappointed in his performance given the investment made in 2017 to dislodge him from Barcelona. There are the injuries, of course, his lifestyle, his invisible preparation. But is Neymar really the major concern of this PSG? There emerges from him, however, a real desire to succeed in the capital and a form of courage in his way of constantly trying to carry the team. Sometimes awkwardly when her body doesn’t follow. Sometimes brilliantly. In this summer of 2022, where everything must change, the Brazilian has become the man to leave when a Lionel Messi, who came to the capital for the wrong reasons, passes between the drops of the big boss. Why ? Because Lionel Messi is a marketing product that is good for the club’s finances. “We have achieved an incredible deal, on and off the pitch. Less than a year later, it is already profitable » he launches into The Parisian. Funny when you read, a few lines above, this: “We want players who love the club, who love to fight, who love to win. »
This time is the right one?
Expected with a lot of impatience but also a bit of derision, NAK’s end-of-season media release is always a great moment. A great moment because it launches the major projects of the summer since Mauricio Pochettino should, without doubt, be fired this week. This annual speech also opens the door to hope. The hope that this PSG really changes, not just in the notes of intent. Can he? Good question. To find out, we invite you to the spring of 2023 when Nasser al-Khelaïfi will take stock of his season with great declarations. The method has worked for almost ten years and every summer PSG followers believe in it. “This time, Nasser seems to have understood”, we try to repeat each time. But the worst thing about this club is that it works every time… So here we go again. Because this time, Nasser al-Khelaïfi seems to have learned the lesson. Or not.
By Mathieu Faure