the whim of the gods / France / PSG /

the whim of the gods / France / PSG /

The express tour of PSG in the Middle East and the friendly match against the Saudi selection of Cristiano Ronaldo, scheduled for Thursday, are a lack of respect for the Coupe de France as well as an ecological and sporting aberration. In the world of Paris, marketing remains the top priority.

The two defeats suffered at Lens and Rennes in 2023 and the tightening at the top of the Ligue 1 table did not shake up the life of Paris Saint-Germain. The capital club have been in another world for more than a decade, and they have no desire to leave it. For the teams in the round of 16 of the Coupe de France, this week is devoted to preparing for the weekend match. Except for the Parisian lords, who have decided to stall a winter tour in the Middle East between a trip to Brittany in the championship and another in the North, to Bollaert, where they know since this Saturday that they will face fans of the US Pays de Cassel (Regional 1). Even before rubbing shoulders with Châteauroux in the previous round, the leaders of PSG had anticipated by asking the FFF to move their potential 16e final on Monday, so that these gentlemen players can have time to recover from their imposed marketing trip and the friendly match against a selection from the Saudi clubs of Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr, scheduled for Thursday evening in Riyadh . A request accepted by the body and a question: who are we kidding?

As they wish

We must evacuate a first thing: yes, the party will be beautiful for the Pays de Cassel, even on a Monday evening, in a Bollaert stadium which could be full, 16,000 seats having been sold in two hours from the opening of the ticket office . And a priori, no Saudi real estate magnate has paid 2.45 million euros to attend this poster. Far from excess and indecency, values ​​dear to PSG (and football in general), there is the Coupe de France, a 107-year-old lady, whose calendar for the 2022-2023 edition is known. For more than one year. An agenda that Paris does not care about since he had estimated before knowing the name of his opponent that it would be wise to postpone the meeting.

Chance and luck of the draw meant that the reigning French champions had to wait for the end of the imbroglio between Wasquehal and Reims Sainte-Anne and two games late to officially inherit an amateur club from R1, more malleable and more inclined to comply with the wishes of an ogre like PSG. Which might not have been the case with a Ligue 1 or Ligue 2 club opposite. Still, an official competition, especially one whose essence is to bring together amateurs and professionals in the same world for a match, should be the absolute priority in the face of a tour of just over 48 hours for business. By agreeing with the Parisian leaders, the FFF has opened a door for the others: what will prevent OL or OM from stalling a trip to the United States between two matches on the national scene? Or Troyes to take a trip to Mumbai and force the shift of a meeting? And so on.

“When the club makes a commitment, it must respect it. He is there, is he well placed or not well placed? We had to respect the commitment that was made. I have no feelings about that. » Christophe Galtier

An ecological and sporting aberration

This disconnection with others and their daily lives also presents itself as a problem for PSG, or at least for those who care about the athlete in a club where marketing too often takes precedence over what really matters. The commitment to play this match to put butter in the caviar was made last season, before the health crisis caused it to be postponed. A contractual obligation which should bring in just over ten million euros for Paris Saint-Germain. A significant sum after having recorded 369 million euros net of losses during the 2021-2022 financial year, but also a pittance for a club whose payroll exceeds 700 million euros annually, a record on the planet football. Beyond the diplomatic aspect, this is a golden opportunity to bring together, perhaps for the last time in their careers, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be the captain of the Saudi selection, on a pitch. Which should be the least of Paris’ worries. After a disappointing start to the year, Christophe Galtier would no doubt have preferred to take advantage of this full week to focus on his team’s work in training and physically get some players back on track.

An impossible mission when a little more than fourteen hours of flight are planned in three days, two nights by plane – certainly in great comfort -, a getaway to Doha to allow Parisians to serve local sponsors on occasion various activities (Qatar Airways, ALL, Qatar Tourism, QNB, Ooredoo and Aspetar), and therefore a detour via Riyadh and the King-Fahd International Stadium. “After the success of the organization of the FIFA World Cup 2022, this trip to Qatar is a new opportunity to highlight the innovative sports infrastructure of the country” , could we read in the press release announcing this tour. The sporting interests of PSG pass after this ecological aberration: the Parisian group will go from around twenty degrees in the Middle East to sometimes negative temperatures on their return to Île-de-France. “When the club makes a commitment, it must respect itswept Galtier last week. He is there, is he well placed or not well placed? We had to respect the commitment that was made. I have no feelings about that. » The Parisian technician will not be able to field a B team against Cristiano Ronaldo’s band: Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar should be lined up together for the first time since the World Cup, just under a month from the round of 16 go against Bayern Munich. A qualification for the quarters would net 10.5 million euros, and that may be all that matters in the world of PSG.

By Clement Gavard