Laurent Blanc, the famous ex-defender of France’s all-star team at the turn of the century, who later became a good coach (now leads Lyon), recently said that as soon as PSG are eliminated from the Champions League, the season for the team ends. Let me disagree with the former coach of Saint-Germain: the current season for the Parisian team ended from the very moment when it was headed by Christophe Galtier.
Last summer, Paris Saint-Germain once again started a thorough restructuring. And she touched not only the composition, but also the coaching bridge. Mauricio Pochettino’s performance as Paris helmsman was deemed unsatisfactory by the club’s bosses. Unsatisfactory primarily due to the team’s lack of progress in the Champions League. The Argentine was shown to the door. And not the “vacant” Zidane, with whom they had long negotiations, was appointed to the position of head coach, but the current coach of “Nice” Galtier.
Moreover, which is significant, the PSG bosses had to buy Galtier’s contract from Nice for ten million euros. The money seems to be not very big for the bottomless pocket of the sheikhs, but if you add another ten million paid as a penalty to Pochettino, you get a non-sour amount. In the sense that from the first moment of his appearance in the office of the Parisian club, Galtier was weighed down by a load of twenty million euros. This money the new mentor of “Paris” had to, at least, work out and justify. First of all, before the leadership of the club, which until the last hoped to get Zidane.
But why, without getting Zizu, the choice of the Parisians fell on not the most stellar coach even within the framework of Ligue 1? Yes, everything is very simple. Luis Campos, who previously worked with Galtier at Lille, became PSG’s new sporting director last summer. In that team, Kampus was the sports director, and Galtier was the head coach. Thanks to this duet, the Doges sensationally became the champions of France in 2021. Then Kampusch demonstrated his unique talent to find young stars, and Galtier – to reveal them.
Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine. Luis Campos and Christophe Galtier
Luis and Christophe complemented each other perfectly at Lille. The first was entirely focused on scouting and negotiation. The second did not fit into transfer issues at all, limiting himself exclusively to coaching functions. Having delimited spheres of influence, the experts got along well. They developed friendships not only in the workplace, but also outside it.
Both left Lille after the club suddenly changed ownership. Campos went nowhere during the championship season, Galtier – after the end of the brilliant championship in the ambitious “Nice”.
Last summer, their paths crossed again. This time – in the coolest French football project of the new time. The bosses of PSG really wanted to farm out the internal football economy of the club specifically to Campos, and therefore succumbed to the arguments of the Portuguese to appoint Galtier as the head coach.
If Galtier is completely a creature of Campos, then the very invitation of the Portuguese “transfer magician” to PSG was caused not only by his contribution to the Lille championship, but also by his earlier successful work at Monaco. It was in the “princely club” that Kampos showed the football world Mbappe, whom he has known since the age of 14, and to whom he is very attached.
And since the Parisian sheikhs were trying at all costs to keep Killian in the ranks of PSG, preventing him from being transferred to Real Madrid, it was decided to invite Kampos to the club so that he persuaded Mbappe to stay. As a result, all parties of this difficult “multi-move” were satisfied. PSG bosses managed to keep Mbappe. Killian received his football “godfather” Kampusch as a back-up at the club. Well, Kampush, without further ado, decided to invite a person with whom he was very comfortable at his previous workplace to the position of Saint-Germain coach.
It would seem that all the sisters have received their earrings, and PSG, having recharged their batteries, should finally make progress in the Champions League. However, in the new coordinate system of “Paris” there was a clear weak link. And this is Christophe Galtier.
Kampos did not hide the fact that he “pushed” his friend’s candidacy for the post of PSG helmsman also because he has a unique (according to not only Luis, but also Christophe’s former Lille wards) ability to motivate football players. And that in almost all of his previous jobs, Galtier managed to put the game on the defensive. It was from the defense that the former teams of Christophe “danced”: “Saint-Etienne”, “Lille” and “Nice”. Kampos logically believed that Galtier would finally be able to achieve a game balance at PSG between attack and defense.
In general, in simple terms, Galtier was invited to Paris not so much to ensure that the team showed spectacular football, but rather to ensure order in defense. And to finally have the expected result in the Champions League.
At first glance, the decision of Kampusch, which seemed logical at first glance, with the invitation of Galtier did not turn out to be such after half of this season. Reliable positional defense, which this French coach was always famous for building, did not take root in the new workplace. After 29 rounds of the French championship, Paris has 29 goals conceded. That is, on average, the team concedes one goal in each match. The three teams in Ligue 1 currently have the best records in the conceded goals column.
PSG are currently on the losing side of five league defeats. The second-placed Lance lost three times. The defeat in the previous round against Lyon was already the eighth (!) for Paris (!) in 2023 (in all tournaments).
Galtier did not justify himself as a motivating coach either: his speeches in the locker room did not reach beyond the ears of the wards, and Kampusch hoped that the coach’s words would go straight into the hearts of the players.
Another feature of Galtier, which worked earlier, did not work either. Being to a certain extent a conservative, he did not stifle the game initiative of his wards in the bud. But if earlier such “know-how” had a positive effect, when players showed their best qualities in new positions or in new circumstances, now excessive initiative led to the fact that the star attacking players (Mbappe, Neymar and Messi) practically did not take part in defensive work.
In addition, according to the French media, Galtier is too loyal to this trinity. There was no such thing as a “whip” in his coaching arsenal. Therefore, within the team, confusion and vacillation began.
Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine. Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi
Mbappe is the only one of the “unholy” trinity who is really trying to carry the burden of leadership. Neymar gets sick and brawls more often than he plays, and Messi, after becoming world champion, seems to have scored on football at the club level.
All this has led to the fact that even now we can say with confidence not only that the current season of PSG is a failure, as Blanc mentioned. In addition to the Champions League, “Paris” flew out of the French Cup. And in Ligue 1, despite the leading line, the team’s positions do not look monolithic. It can be argued already now that the invitation of Galtier as a motivating coach, capable of giving prompt results, also did not justify itself. To put it mildly.
PSG is not a team, but a luxury store with expensive products that everyone admires, but no one can afford them “: these are the words of former Bayern captain Philipp Lahm after Paris limply lost to the Bavarians in the first round playoffs of the Champions League. And it is very difficult to disagree with this assessment. And it is more and more difficult for Paris to remain an optimist, to put a good face on a bad game. If earlier it was Bayern that was called FC Hollywood behind their backs, now this not very pleasant nickname suits Paris very well.
Therefore, do not be surprised if this summer the sheikhs again start a large-scale renovation / restructuring of their “luxury store” …
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