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The "worst failure in the history of football": in the head of Choupo-Moting

"I scored a goal but Choupo-Moting stopped him", said Christopher Nkunku on Sunday night, taking for himself the famous maxim of Pele and his goal canceled by Gordon Banks. The context: 28e minute of this PSG-Strasbourg which can allow the Parisians, in case of victory, to mathematically complete their Ligue 1 season. Packed, it is weighed, eighth title of champion. The score is a goal everywhere. Choupo-Moting, not yet a criminal, opened the scoring of a flat foot quite worthy of the professional footballer he is. PSG being the PSG, Strasbourg had punished his sufficiency on a counter-attack concluded by Nuno Da Costa two minutes ago.

The facts: right side of the surface, Nkunku perfectly pokes his ball that passes over the goalkeeper from Strasbourg came to meet him. The ball is slightly deflected but is still determined to roll to the nets. Except that Choupo-Moting is on his trajectory. There, the story stammers: on the goal line itself, the German-Cameroonian touches the ball in a perfect defensive gesture but a shameful attacking gesture, it rolls to the post while Choupo finds himself in the nets . The Alsatians, surely disturbed by what has just happened but professional to the end, hasten to free it from the danger zone. A non-goal, anti-football.

It is primarily a state of amazement as those who follow the great moments of football, the half-volley of Pavard, the recovery of Zidane against Leverkusen, what you want. Like, "we saw some football, but that, never". Then, we resume our spirits. On social networks, we realize that we have just witnessed the "worst misfire in history", the one that will conclude all the compilations of football failures, missed flyovers, guards cagades, the unsurpassed , new standard meter of the "fail with a balloon" for the years to come. Previously Nicklas Bendtner's paint brushing with Arsenal was often cited as the typical example of the goal canceled by the presence of an attacker. Here, it seems worse: Choupo was on the trajectory, all there was to do was a tiny movement of the foot from the back to the front, or more simply, not being there .

Existential crisis

In Choupo's head, under the blond ridge, we guess the system error, the overflow of information. The bug. That's what he seemed to say after the meeting, trusting, no more affected than that, at the microphones of journalists : "Even me, until now, I do not quite understand. […] At first, I thought [Nkunku] was going to give me the ball so I put it directly. After that, I thought the defender would take the ball. I hesitated, then I thought I might be out of play. I did not want to steal the goal either. " It is often said that selfishness is a virtue in the attacker. There, Choupo-Moting seemed to want to show that he was not really one. Too much humility, the kind to wonder, while the balloon reaches him in the feet: "Who am I to score? Should I be here? Will I really offer this goal, the victory, the title? " The existential crisis on the goal line. At this moment when everything is only automatism, reproduction of gestures repeated thousands of times, the Parisian's unconscious chose to play against his team.

This is the paradox of the place of Choupo-Moting PSG: it was brought there by Thomas Tuchel, who had known in Mainz, to be the replacement of Cavani. The Cameroonian was therefore especially recruited for his humility as a bench player, combined with a mood of ambianceur cloakroom. That's what he had accomplished so far, his trainer's comforter, a fun mascot for the fans who encouraged him with a touch of pity for this overly average, or too fallible player, for their supposed team. cyborgs, an unknown in the perfect – in appearance – equation of PSG, with the hope, with each match, of a transcendence. Three achievements on 27 shots in Ligue 1, three goals denied by the VAR, already a awful missed the previous week, alone in front of the goal. The lose. Paris will wait to celebrate its title: this PSG-Strasbourg ended on a 2-2, and will include an eternal asterisk, this failure of Choupo. As if to signify a joke that would have lasted too long, the Parc des Princes whistled it when it came out in the 60th minute. "Those who know football know that it happens"was justified Choupo-Moting after the match. That's right, but why are we less surprised that it happens to him? This is the image of the Parisian season: in the last meters, while the finish line is in sight, we still have fun to see the PSG to do all-alone toes.

Adrien Franque

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