Lionel Messi and PSG have warned Champions League hopes are doomed to familiar failures


Paris Saint-Germain are named Champions League favorites, after a summer where Achraf Hakimi, Gini Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi all arrived in the French capital

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Messi’s debut at PSG analyzed by Pochettino

Nice roof, too bad for the foundations.

Steve McManaman is concerned that Paris Saint Germain’s stunning cast of superstar strikers will once again be doomed to Champions League glory “because they can’t defend properly”.

In most football contexts, a front line from Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi would wow the opposition.

But BT Sport analyst McManaman has warned that PSG’s embarrassment over wealth will test the managerial skills of manager Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

The former England winger said: “We all want 30 superstars in our squad, but you have to ask Pochettino how he’s going to keep this crowd happy.

“I would hate to be in his place, to explain to Angel Di Maria why he is not in the team this week because he has to find room for Messi, Neymar, Mbappe, Wijnaldum and the others.

Messi joined PSG after leaving Barcelona


NurPhoto / PA Images)

“It’s going to be a hell of a job, trying to fit them all in and keep them happy.

“I would make Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Bayern Munich this year’s Champions League favorites – and PSG should be there too, because of the people they have, even if I don’t see them winning because they may not defend properly.

“And watching them play, I’m not sure they feel like defending properly.

“As much as I love Pochettino, it will be difficult for him without the ball to run his team, to fight, to work hard to regain possession of the ball in one unit.

“I’ve seen both sides of PSG in recent years – I was at games where they beat Barcelona 4-0, then lost the second leg 6-1, and I don’t see them striking the right balance.

“I just don’t see them leaving the big guns out if there’s a game where they could defend a slim lead and they have to keep it tight.

“How do you tell one of these superstars that she’s on the bench for a Champions League quarter-final or semi-final?”

* BT Sport is the exclusive football headquarters for the UEFA Champions League. Watch every match of the 2021-2022 competition live on TV, online and on the BT Sport app. Visit

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