Champions League: the luxury puzzle of Paris Saint-Germain



“Messi, Neymar and Mbappé, together? I join this collective excitement, I’m like everyone else, I would be crazy not to want to see them play together. Will we see them together tomorrow? Maybe yes “,maliciously launched at a press conference, Tuesday, September 14, the coach of Paris SG to Mauricio Pochettino, on the eve of his team’s entry into contention, Wednesday 15 at 9 p.m., in the Champions League in Bruges.

False suspense: in reality, barring injury or last minute unforeseen events, the magical trio will be on the pitch, if only because football is also about money and image and because the whole world like the Qatari shareholder are waiting for that. Just like the fans of this planetary game, curious to finally see for the first time the trio never gathered on the field. For his first appearance in Ligue 1, Lionel Messi entered during the match to replace Neymar.

There remains a small problem of rich well known to high-level technicians that the Argentinian did not hide: “We are a club that bought a lot of players this summer and signed some very important names, but you have to convert it all into a team, like Chelsea did (European champion, Editor’s note) last year. “A man undoubtedly listened to these words with attention: Didier Deschamps. Confronted during the Euro with this same equation with three famous unknowns, Mbappé, Griezmann, Benzema, he has not succeeded in solving it so far.

The example of Barcelona

To best bring to life what the football world already calls the MNM (Messi Neymar Mpappé), Mauricio Pochettino can rely on a famous precedent, already featuring the M of Messi and the N of Neymar. For nearly three years, the famous MSN (Messi, Suarez, Neymar) made the heyday of Barcelona, ​​scoring 364 goals and distributing 211 decisive. Never seen. The recipe concocted by Luis Enrique, Barca coach, was known to all: Neymar played on the left, Messi on the right, with full latitude for these two players to navigate wherever they saw fit, before serving the third thief Luis Suarez, who was waiting their gifts in the center.

Will this pattern be reproduced against Bruges, Mbappé taking on the role of Luis Suarez this time? This is the whole question asked, the answer to which we will not know until the kick-off, when the three stars will be arranged around the central circle while waiting for the whistle. It doubles as another puzzle because this option will affect the entire workforce. A trio of this stature need to be backed up by a strong midfielder and supplied with balloons by quick and attacking full-backs, who in Paris are less impactful than Barca’s of MSN.

Mbappé does not play like Suarez

The MNM has another major difference with its predecessor. The M is not the S and Mbappé does not have the same game as Suarez at all. He is never better than coming from afar, launched at full speed, most often on the left side of… Neymar. It is hard to see Bondy’s child transforming into a surface fox, waiting for the balloons in the manner of Suarez or Giroud. Will Pochettino be able to convince the Frenchman to bow to a new discipline and to stay ahead wisely? Or on the contrary will he concede the left side (his favorite) by transforming Neymar into a playmaker? This is perhaps the best tactical option, but not necessarily managerial: the soap opera of Mbappé’s false start at Real Madrid and his average end of the season in the French team have undoubtedly tarnished his image within the club.

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