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French Ligue 1

Same old sad story for PSG despite 11th Ligue 1 title

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Ligue 1 - RC Strasbourg v Paris St Germain - Stade de la Meinau, Strasbourg, France - May 27, 2023 Paris St Germain's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their first goal with Kylian Mbappe and Sergio Ramos REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Paris St Germain claimed a record-breaking 11th Ligue 1 title but their future looks blurry after yet another failure in the Champions League.

This season, PSG’s team were assembled around Kylian Mbappe, but the France forward has yet to announce whether he will activate the option to stay at the club until 2025 or if he will leave in 2024.

Mbappe was one of very few satisfactions as PSG also failed to win the French Cup, scoring 28 goals while Lionel Messi was largely disappointing and Neymar missed the second part of the season through injury.

Between the posts, Gianluigi Donnarumma did not provide the same safety he gave Italy in their Euro 2020 winning campaign and PSG exited the Champions League in the last 16 for the fifth time in the last seven campaigns.

PSG’s sometimes woeful performances, unexpected for the Qatar-owned club who spent way over a billion euros in transfers since 2011, were due to some poor recruitment choices and the lack of proper team spirit.

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While on paper, Mbappe, Messi and Neymar could form the most formidable attacking trio on the planet, it never really gelled and they were barely supported by a less-than-average midfield with Marco Verratti a huge disappointment throughout the season.

Since Carlo Ancelotti, arguably one of the most seasoned managers in Europe, was sacked in 2013, coaches have come and gone, all failing to get a grip on the squad in spectacular fashion.

Laurent Blanc, Unai Emery, Thomas Tuchel and Mauricio Pochettino have come short and so did Christophe Galtier this season.

Messi was suspended for an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia earlier this month but Galtier said he had nothing to do with the decision to sanction the forward, whose form has nosedived spectacularly after he won the World Cup with Argentina.

Messi scored PSG’s opener from Mbappe’s pass on Saturday but the 35-year-old is likely to leave the club at the end of the season. There is growing speculation that Neymar could also depart, leaving the management with a team to build almost from scratch, yet again.

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PSG’s refusal to admit management errors has left their most devoted fans to protest repeatedly, which culminated in some of them gathering in front of Neymar’s home chanting for the Brazilian to leave.

Their wish might be heard, but what’s coming next is anyone’s guess, and 12 years of sometimes erratic decisions do not inspire confidence.

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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French Ligue 1

Sacked former Cote d’ivoire coach, Gasset announces retirement as Marseille manager

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Europa League - Semi Final - Second Leg - Atalanta v Olympique de Marseille - Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy - May 9, 2024 Olympique de Marseille coach Jean-Louis Gasset reacts REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

Jean-Louis Gasset who was sacked by Cote d’Ivoire after the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations last January has announced his retirement as  a coach of Olympique de Marseille.

 He will take charge of his last game on Sunday before retiring from management, the 70-year-old said on Friday.

Gasset was appointed as interim manager by the Ligue 1 club in February after the sacking of Gennaro Gattuso, and Marseille are eight in the standings going into their final Ligue 1 game of the season at Le Havre.

“Sunday will be the last match of my career,” Gasset told a press conference.

“That I stay in football, that my experience, my ideas and my networks are used is a possibility. I don’t know how to garden, I won’t have anything to do. But as a coach, it’s over.”

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The Frenchman’s previous job was with Ivory Coast from which he was sacked after the team’s poor performances in the Africa Cup of Nations group stage. They scraped through as the last lucky losers before going on to win the tournament on home soil.

-Reuters

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French Ligue 1

Departing Mbappe backs good friend Dembele to become Ligue 1’s best

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Sealed And Delivered! Mbappe Has Already Signed Contract With Real Madrid -

Kylian Mbappe has backed winger Ousmane Dembele to be a success at Paris St Germain and fill his boots after he exits the club, as he won his fifth successive Ligue 1 Player of the Year award.

France captain Mbappe, 25, last week announced that he will leave the French champions at the end of the season after a seven-year stay, during which he became their all-time top scorer with 256 goals.

Mbappe’s frustration lies with PSG’s performances in the Champions League, a trophy they have never lifted despite huge investment in the squad. He has been heavily linked with a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, who are in the final this year seeking a 15th European crown.

His 26-year-old compatriot Dembele joined the Parisian club, who have won 10 of the last 12 Ligue 1 titles, from LaLiga side Barcelona in August last year, signing a five-year deal.

“I have shared and played with incredible players, like Dembele who is here, he is a friend and one day he will pick up this award,” Mbappe said on Monday at the award ceremony.

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“I thank the club as a whole, the coach, who has helped me and trusted me, his staff, the doctors, all the people at the club, the sporting management, the president, the shareholders of the club, of course, the Emir of Qatar who came to find me at the age of 18, who has accompanied me in all my decisions…”

He said his next chapter is going to be very exciting but did not reveal any further details.

“Now I’m turning the page in my life. Everything that comes next is super exciting, but that’s another subject,” Mbappe said.

“Thank you all, I’m going to miss you. I have always tried to do my best, and I also want to thank my family, who have always been with me in good times and bad.

“My father, who is here, I know that it was very important to him that I made history in Ligue 1 before I left and I think that with humility I have done everything you wanted.”

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-Reuters

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French Ligue 1

Mbappe Set To Quit PSG –

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Sealed And Delivered! Mbappe Has Already Signed Contract With Real Madrid -

France captain Kylian Mbappe has informed Paris St Germain that he is leaving the club in July as a free agent seven years after joining them, The Athletic website reported on Thursday.

Mbappe, a member of France’s 2018 World Cup-winning team, signed for PSG from Monaco in 2017 for 180 million euros ($194 million) to become the second most expensive player ever after Brazilian Neymar, who joined the French champions the same year for 222 million euros.

“Mbappe has communicated his decision to PSG but the terms of his exit are yet to be fully agreed. An official announcement is expected once the situation is finalised in the next few months,” the report said.

The 25-year-old striker, who helped the capital club win five Ligue 1 titles and three French Cups, is PSG’s all-time leading scorer with 243 goals in 290 appearances.

PSG have not responded to a request for comment.

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Mbappe last year sent a letter to PSG stating that he would not take up the option to extend his contract by a year when it expires in June.

He has long been linked with Real Madrid, reportedly rejecting a 200 million euro ($215.36 million) offer in 2021. He was again set for a move to the LaLiga side in 2022 before announcing a contract extension with PSG before the transfer window opened.

PSG, who lead the Ligue 1 standings by 11 points, host Nice on Friday.

-Reuters

 

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