PSG chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi warning
The Paris-based club are looking to build a team that will dominate Europe the same way they have dominated France in the past year. They plan to do so by flushing out unserious and players not committed to the cause.
With a wealth of attacking players, including Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi – Les Parisiens, are expected to be a winning team. But they have been poor in terms of playing style under head coach Mauricio Pochettino.
The former Tottenham boss is expected to be sacked, following director of football Leonardo out of the exit door after Luis Campos was appointed as an adviser.
Speaking to Le Parisien on Tuesday via 90min, club chief Al-Khelaifi revealed that more changes were coming at Parc des Princes.
“Dreams are one thing. Reality is another. Perhaps we should change our slogan… dream bigger is good, but today we must be realistic. We don’t want flashy, bling-bling anymore. It’s the end of the glitter.
When asked about Neymar’s future at PSG, Al-Khelaifi said:
“What I can tell you is that we expect all the players to do much more than they did last season. Much more!
“They all have to be at 100%. Obviously, we weren’t good enough to go far. For next season, the objective is clear: work every day at 200%. Give everything we have for this shirt, give the maximum, and we’ll see the result. We must become humble again. We have to change to avoid injuries, suspensions and fouls that turn a match upside down.
“We have to stop saying: ‘We want to win this and that and that’. We build. You have to be disciplined, on and off the pitch. Anyone who wants to stay in their comfort zone, who doesn’t want to fight, will stay on the sidelines.
And we have to create a real team, and find a real collective spirit. That will be the mission of the new coach. We want players who are proud to represent PSG and ready to fight every day.”
When asked whether certain members of the squad were paid too much, Al-Khelaifi replied:
“No, just compare with the salaries of clubs abroad. Perhaps they simply don’t have any offers…”
“The Covid period has greatly reduced the market and the means of the clubs. This is also a reality. Now, PSG’s position is clear: Players who are not part of the project will have to leave. Some have taken advantage of the situation. Now it’s over!”
Zidane ruled out as PSG manager
The PSG chief also revealed his long-term ambition to field a team of Paris-born players.
“My goal for the next few years is to have only Parisian players in our team,” he continued. “There is so much talent in our region. The best players from our region deserve to play for PSG. It will take time, but it is a goal.”
Frenchman Zidane had reportedly been the number one target for PSG following a sabbatical from management. But the former Real Madrid boss has ruled himself out of the job, with Nice boss Galtier now in the front of the queue to replace Mauricio Pochettino in recent weeks.
Commenting on the managerial situation and the search for a replacement for Pochettino, Al-Khelaifi insisted that the club had never been in talks with Zidane and had ‘chosen another option’:
“Zinedine Zidane? I’ll tell you one thing: we never spoke with him, neither directly nor indirectly. Many clubs are interested in him, and national teams too, but we have never discussed it with him.
“We have chosen another option than Zidane. We’ve chosen a coach who will be the best for what we want to put in place.
“The fans are disappointed to have Galtier and not Zidane? The dream is one thing, the reality another. Dreaming big is good, but today, we must, above all, be realistic. We no longer want flashy, bling-bling. It’s the end of glitter. We want reality “
On discussions with Nice and Galtier, the PSG man said;
“We are having discussions with Nice,” he said. “It’s no secret. I hope we will find an agreement quickly.”