PSG’s latest European failure proves money cannot buy you everything

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian defender Marquinhos (C) cheers up Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe at the end of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on March 6, 2019. / AFP / FRANCK FIFE
Updated 08 March 2019

PSG’s latest European failure proves money cannot buy you everything

LONDON: Another year and another embarrassing early exit from the Champions League for PSG.
Make no mistake, this was the one trophy the Qatar-owned club wanted to win — Ligue 1 now reduced to a boring procession by the pile of money (over $1 billion) injected into the club.
Two years on from their humiliation at the same stage against Barcelona — when they let slip a four-goal lead from the first leg — and PSG once again are left with the realization that money can only buy you so much.
It seems strange to cast Manchester United — a club that for many typifies the business-first approach of modern-day football clubs — as plucky outsiders. But that is exactly what they were on Wednesday night. Given no chance against Kylian Mbappe and Co. and with virtually a second XI on the pitch, the contrast with their moneybags opponents could not have been more stark. But they illustrated a work ethic and, to use Solskjaer’s word, “humbleness” that once again was so clearly lacking in PSG.
Qatari cash has not only destroyed the French League, but, ironically, also PSG’s chance of success, in the short-term at least, in Europe. On every occasion the capital club have been asked questions and forced to battle they have been found wanting. United displayed exactly what PSG needed — fun and fight.
That they achieved it with a host of home-grown players who cost nothing and an interim coach who is there for the love of the club and game, and not a huge paycheck, speaks volumes as the Qatar-owned club ponder where they go from here.

Spain considers playing Super Cup in Saudi Arabia

Updated 45 min 51 sec ago

Spain considers playing Super Cup in Saudi Arabia

  • Proposal will be made at the federation’s general assembly next week

MADRID: The Spanish soccer federation is looking into the possibility of playing the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia beginning next year.

Federation President Luis Rubiales said Wednesday playing in the Middle East is one of the options being considered for the tournament, as well as a “final four” format with the top finishers in the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey.

The competition has been played in a one-game final between the champions at the beginning of the season. The idea is to play the new Super Cup in January.

The proposal will be made during the federation’s general assembly next week.

Rubiales did not confirm reports the deal will be worth €30 million ($33 million) a year for six seasons, saying “it will be difficult” to reach that value.

The federation president, one of the main critics of the Spanish league’s idea to play a regular-season match in the US, said the decision would take into consideration the players’ health, noting that playing in Saudi Arabia would not affect them as much as if the game was played in the US or Asia, where travel time and time differences were greater. Last year’s final, won by Barcelona against Sevilla, was played in Tangier, Morocco.

This year’s Italian Super Cup was played in Saudi Arabia as part of a multi-year deal worth more than €20 million ($22 million).  The Spanish players’ association, which complained about the Spanish league’s attempt to play in the US, did not oppose the idea of playing in Saudi Arabia.

“We weren’t against playing in the United States, what we wanted at the time was to be consulted about the idea and to give our opinion,” association president David Aganzo said Wednesday at an event organized by Europa Press. “If the proposal for the Super Cup is good for the players, we won’t have a problem with it.”

The Spanish league had to scrap the game in Florida after Barcelona, which would have faced Girona, backed down because of the lack of consensus among the parties involved. The league said it will try playing abroad again next season.

There is also a plan by the federation to reduce the number of games in the Copa del Rey to help clear up the calendar and keep teams from playing too many matches. The competition would include single elimination matches in some rounds, instead of a two-leg series. The proposal is also expected to be presented in next week’s general assembly.

“The clubs and the players want less official matches in the calendar,” Rubiales said.