PSG collapse and French media take a swipe at Neymar, Messi and Sergio Ramos

Paris Saint-Germain have entered a downward spiral in 2023 that comes at the worst time of the season.

Wednesday night’s exit in the last 16 of the Coupe de France at the hands of arch-rivals Olympique Marseille is a warning sign of a crisis that comes less than a week before the return of the Champions League. They host Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes in Paris next Tuesday.

Kylian Mbappe‘s injury has exposed other shortcomings in the team. Scorer of 20 goals so far this season, seven of them in Europe, the 24-year-old has become the team’s main striker, who until the Qatar 2022 World Cup had been performing above his level of play.

The cup elimination has led to the French media taking aim at some of the team’s stars.

In Messi’s hands

Without Mbappe, all eyes are on Messi, who has returned from the World Cup with his batteries recharged, but whose brilliance has been largely isolated from the rest of the team. The former Barcelona man starred in the penultimate match against Toulouse, but it was not enough against a well-formed Marseille side.

Neymar, returning after a spell on the sidelines with an ankle problem, was non-existent and his performances are starting to raise doubts at the club, where they believe he has lost the decisive influence he had on his arrival in 2017.

The midfield is the least convincing line and all the experiments that coach Christophe Galtier has made in this area have failed to strengthen the squad.

The coach abandoned the 4-3-3 formation to give more weight to the midfield with a 4-4-2 formation which, although he has been modifying it over the last few games, has not found its way.

Nor is the defence performing as well as expected. If the two full-backs, Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes are in good form, neither Marquinhos nor Sergio Ramos seem to be at their best.

PSG collapse and French media take a swipe at Neymar, Messi and Sergio Ramos

The Spaniard, approaching his 37th birthday, scored a goal and conceded a penalty, but above all he suffered from a lack of pace when Marseille found space.

The French press takes a swipe at PSG

The French press has taken the Parisians to task after their cup debacle. L’Equipe, the newspaper in charge of awarding player ratings in France after each match, singled out many players, including Ramos, Messi and Neymar.

The Spaniard, who committed a penalty that led to Marseille’s first goal, was given a 4 by the paper. “When his back is caught, he has difficulties, as in the penalty against Under. He redeemed himself with a header before the break and equalised at the end, but he was offside.”

For Le Parisien, PSG’s favourite newspaper, the Spanish defender’s match was not too bad, giving him a 5, stressing that “he is a leader on the pitch” and proof of that is his headed goal after having caused the penalty.

The one who has received the most criticism is Neymar. The Brazilian made his comeback in Marseille after missing PSG’s last two games. For L’Equipe, his game was “worrying”. In fact, the newspaper blamed him for the turnover in the second goal with some harsh words.

“How can a player allow himself such a body feint in the second Marseille goal, and how can a player of his level be so wasteful?”

Le Parisien was not so harsh and gave him a 4.5, rating the assist to Sergio Ramos for PSG’s only goal of the night.

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