Paris Saint-Germain this week averted a crisis by beating Manchester United to revive their Champions League campaign and the club’s followers might even be getting giddy at the possibility of seeing Lionel Messi in the French capital next season.
Neymar scored twice in Manchester and then publicly stated his wish to team up again with his old Barcelona teammate next season, saying: “I want to play with him for sure, next year we have to do it.”
With Messi having spent the last close season trying to engineer a move away from Barcelona, who are suffering badly from the economic impact of the coronavirus, Neymar perhaps feels a reunion in Paris is more likely than his return to the Camp Nou.
Meanwhile PSG are pondering how to deal with Neymar’s contract, and that of Kylian Mbappe, which both expire in 2022. The Qatar-owned club are also feeling the effects of the pandemic, which has slashed ticket revenue in particular, with games in France being played behind closed doors. Qualifying for the Champions League last 16 would provide a financial boost.
Thomas Tuchel’s team only require a draw at home to Istanbul Basaksehir next week to seal their progress. “I didn’t come to Paris to play in the Europa League,” Neymar told Brazil’s Esporte Interativo. However, Tuchel warned: “We have almost qualified, which means we have not qualified yet. That is the reality.”
Last season’s Champions League runners-up are a work in progress and they have allowed the chasing domestic pack to catch up. A loss at Monaco and a draw with Bordeaux in their last two matches have left PSG just two points clear of Lille, Lyon, Monaco and Montpellier in Ligue 1. PSG go to Montpellier this weekend knowing a defeat would knock them off top spot. Montpellier, though, are without their top scorer Andy Delort after he tested positive for coronavirus for the second time in three months.
Fixtures (Kick-offs GMT)
Today: Rennes v Lens (1600), Montpellier v Paris Saint-Germain (2000)
Tomorrow: Lille v Monaco (1200), Angers v Lorient, Bordeaux v Brest, Dijon v Saint-Etienne, Nantes v Strasbourg (all 1400), Reims v Nice (1600), Metz v Lyon (2000)
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