Buoyed by the arrivals of Fabian Ruiz and Carlos Soler – in addition to the return of Pablo Sarabia – the Spaniards saw their weight grow in the PSG squad last summer. However, and even if some will have playing time again this Wednesday against Angers in view of the absences, rare are the satisfactions that have come from the other side of the Pyrenees in recent seasons.
They are six, in all lines of the Paris workforce, and now represent the main foreign nationality within the club. Having arrived for several seasons or only last summer, Sergio Rico, Fabián Ruiz, Sergio Ramos, Juan Bernat, Carlos Soler and Pablo Sarabia are experiencing mixed fortunes in the capital. But a general observation is essential: the arrival of none of these players does not constitute, for the time being, a complete success for the champions of France – with the possible exception of Bernat, before his serious injury. In recent seasons, Jesé, Ander Herrera and Yuri Berchiche have also tried to leave their mark at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, without much success. In its history, PSG have only hosted twelve Spanish players, nor is it the trio at the start of the 21st century.e century Enrique de Lucas-Mikel Arteta-Cristobal who left the most memories with the public of the Parc des Princes. Game identity too different? Adapting to Parisian life? Championship too little referenced? Only one thing is certain: unlike the many South Americans who have marked the history of the club, the Spaniards are still struggling to find a place for themselves.
“Having a lot of Spaniards goes a bit in their football logic. What will make the difference in important moments is talent, individual quality… It’s true that the Spaniard has a bit of that. » Julien Escude
The tiki taka exported to France?
The recent desire of Parisian leaders to recruit players who have come directly or trained in La Liga is far from trivial. A revealing of the wish displayed by the club of the capital to rely on a strong possession. “The fact of having a lot of Spaniards, not even in France, but at PSG, that goes a bit in their football logicunderlines Julien Escudé, revealed in Rennes before going to shine in the jersey of Seville. What will make the difference in important moments is talent, individual quality, technique, the one-touch pass… It’s true that the Spaniard has a bit of that. » A considered bet in order to give a certain identity to the locker room. “PSG is a Latino, South American, Spanish and somewhat French team. They are players of possession, movement, techniquecontinues the former tricolor international. They have it naturally. »
A game framework however far from being easy to apply on this side of the Pyrenees, against more rough or disciplined opponents than in La Liga. He also passed through the two championships, notably at PSG and Valencia, Mohamed Sissoko sees this as one of the possible explanations for the difficulties of Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and others. “The way of working in Spain is completely different. In Ligue 1, the players are strong, there are a lot of high intensity races. The Spanish player likes the tiki-taka, play in small spaces. But despite everything, Spanish players can adapt to all types of championships with their qualities. » Escude abounds: “We know Spanish football, which is much more focused on the passing game, the moving game. I have memories in the French training where we work a lot more on the aspects of play without the ball. In Spain, all training is done with the ball, oriented towards ball possession. »
“If we talk about Soler, in Valencia he was the strong man. Everyone played for him, he was vice-captain, trained at the club. There, the context is completely different. » mohamed sissoko
Escudé: “Maybe if they had been very good in La Liga, they would have signed for Barça or Real”
Independently of the problem of the style of play put in place, there is also the question of the status of the players concerned. None of the six is an indisputable starter, and most come from lower caliber clubs. “They don’t come from Barça or Real Madrid, maybe if they had been very good in their league, they would have signed in those clubs” , decrypts Escudé. Playing time and confidence are then necessarily affected. “It’s the difficulty of entering these teams, there is so much competition that you will play a match in two weekscontinues the former defender. You have to make the difference right away to win. The first year is more difficult for players like that. But maybe the second can be the right one. »
There is therefore always hope to see Carlos Soler perform at the same level as in Valencia and the former Neapolitan Fabián Ruiz to continue his rise, he who already has the experience of having to prove himself away from home. “If we talk about Soler, in Valencia he was the strong man, and there the context is completely different. Everyone played for him, he was vice-captain, trained at the club. , defends Sissoko, who also draws a parallel with the situation of Sarabia during his loan to Sporting, also calling for a certain patience to judge all these beautiful people. Time also to adapt to the peculiarities of a team based on their individual talents. “You know that beside you, you have the best players in the world. Sometimes you force the machine a bit. We know that PSG plays a lot on individualities. further develops Escudé.
“For a Spaniard, succeeding in his career means succeeding in Spain. » Julien Escude
Spain wins you over
Far beyond the particular case of Paris Saint-Germain, Spanish players who have become stars abroad are not legion. A cultural blockage? Escudé tries to explain: “We French, when we start to take an interest in football, we obviously look at the French championship, but also outside our borders. What makes us dream is watching the Premier League, La Liga… In addition, we see our players going abroad. We have this culture of travel. A Spaniard sees big clubs every weekend, he is nourished by that. For him, succeeding in his career means succeeding in Spain. » Like the English, reluctant to leave their beloved Premier League, the Spaniards would not love big getaways away from their land either. “In the career profile of a Spaniard, he does not say “I want to go and play in France.” Are they players who score for big clubs, who stay more than ten years and become big stars abroad? I don’t have many examples in mind. » An observation not fully shared by Sissoko: “I played with Spaniards in England and they were able to adapt, to be successful. It’s a question of adaptation, and in our example, of integrating into Parisian life. It’s a whole context, not just football, because they completely step out of their comfort zone. »
And if the former Parisian milieu remains convinced that the latter will end up bringing their stone to the building, it is perhaps also because their number can be their strength. “That’s what can help their integration, having a Sergio Rico who speaks French, for example, is a good thing, especially since he’s been in the locker room for several years.argues Escudé again. In Seville with Freddy Kanouté, the fact of being two to speak French was enough. There, there are six to eight of them speaking Spanish among themselves, so you have to manage to find this adaptation. » And why not make obsolete the era of South Americans, true pillars of the capital club at different times. “For me, the Argentine player manages to integrate well in Europe with this technical quality, this physique, this aggressiveness… He has this game where he is pushed to give everything for his club because he has a football culture , and he has the ball » , finally notes the one who also defended the colors of Ajax and Beşiktaş. Too bad for Paris that Messi is now the last of the Mohicans.
By Tom Binet
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