Defeat (1-3) on Wednesday (March 6th) against Manchester United of Paris Saint-Germain, synonymous with third straight elimination in the round of 16 for a club calibrated for victory in the Champions League, will weigh heavily in the accounts of a club that has put everything in sport and economically on the European level.

A few hours after the final whistle, the question must still haunt the leaders of Paris Saint-Germain. How did the players lose by two goals a game that they dominated from start to finish? Offering no opportunity to their opponents, who put three goals on two errors, unforgivable at this level, a defender and a goalkeeper, and a decision of the video assistance.

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Two figures alone give the tone of the incredible cataclysm that has fallen on the heads of PSG bosses. First, the statistical firm Opta calculated that no club had been eliminated in the Champions League on its lawn after winning 2-0 in the first leg.

Then, PSG is the victim of the start of video assistance in the Champions League, activated for the first time by UEFA for the round of 16. Too bad the decision, probably severe, fell on the forearm of Presnel Kimpembe late in the game, offering the Mancunians this penalty with serious consequences.

Financial heavyweight but not sporty

The historic rise against Barcelona in 2017, the lesson inflicted by Real Madrid in 2018 and this incredible turnaround against a Manchester team deprived of its best players may give the PSG the image of a club rich loosers. Not very good for business, when the club is renegotiating most of its partnership contracts.

The Parisian leaders had the hollow nose to sign the group Accor, their new jersey sponsor, before Wednesday's match. Not sure that the fifty million euros deposited annually in the Parisian pocket would have been generously offered once the result known.

The reaction (at the microphone of RMC Sports) of the big boss Nasser Al-Khelaïfi is eloquent: « I do not understand how we played. We still have the Coupe de France, Ligue 1, we must not say that the season is over Said a man who will surely, if not already, receive a few phone calls from Qatar.

Not sure that the shareholder greatly appreciated the incredible lack of hands of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, hired with great money and communication, after having already participated in 2018 in the elimination of his club of the time, the Juventus Turin, in the semifinals of the Champions League.

The sporting choice, but especially commercial (the Italian doorman is a world star) to make him a starter, preferably to the French international goalkeeper Alphonse Aréola, is likely to be expensive for Parisian leaders.

We will have to sell players to balance the accounts

The short-term consequences are already heavy. Elimination at this level costs UEFA's € 10 million to all quarter finalists in the Champions League. The ticket deficit at a stadium where tickets are selling at high prices for large posters is expected to remove a new line of $ 10 million from the budget. Not to mention the huge profits generated by jersey sales and television rights that go up in smoke.

At a time when the PSG desperately pleads its cause to UEFA in the context of financial fair play (mandatory balance between expenses and revenues), the note could be salty. It is now a certainty, the PSG will have to sell more players than expected at the end of the season to balance his accounts.

Will Neymar stay?

Not to mention that the illustrious spectator of the match on Wednesday, whose face was often presented in close-ups on the TV images and the giant screens of the stadium, did not have to taste the result. No more than his agents and lawyers elsewhere. Injured, Neymar had left some hints about a possible transfer at the end of the season in an interview given on Brazilian television. It is sure the most expensive man in the history of transfers has not left Barcelona to settle for a knockout in the Champions League.

The only good news of the evening had fallen the day before, on the side of Real Madrid, the club where the rumor already sends the Brazilian star. The correction received (1-4) in their stadium by the Madrilenians from the young guard of Ajax Amsterdam and the current low level of Real, except race in the Champions League, Championship and King's Cup, n is not likely to make him leave. Not immediately, anyway. But the question is asked, while his arrival is far from amortized in the Parisian accounts. His departure, in Madrid or elsewhere, would be a huge failure of images, but also economic.

Jean-François Fournel

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