Soccer-PSG are a success as Qatar's political tool but bland on the pitch-Lahm

FILE PHOTO: Philipp Lahm, UEFA EURO 2020 ambassador and former German soccer professional, speaks at a news conference in Munich, Germany, March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

BERLIN (Reuters) - Paris St Germain's billion-euro investment may have paid dividends on the political stage for owners Qatar but the team is disappointing and bland despite superstars Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, former Germany captain Philipp Lahm said on Wednesday.

Lahm, a 2014 World Cup winner who now is Euro 2024 tournament director, was vitriolic in his criticism following PSG's 3-0 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16 earlier this month.

"You feel for the many PSG fans who came to Munich (for the return leg on March 8). Their hopes that something could come together dies every year anew," Lahm said in a column for German newspaper Die Zeit.

PSG have never won Europe's premier club competition and have made it to the final only once, in 2020, despite their expensive signings in recent years, that also include Brazil forward Neymar.

PSG owners Qatar Sport Investments (QSI) have spent more than 1.5 billion euros in transfers since they took over in 2011.

"Qatar invests millions in PSG. Politically the strategy works but on the sporting level the team is a disappointment," Lahm said. "The club remains a bland experience."

He said France international Mbappe, a world champion in 2018, was not hitting his full potential there.

"His talent is not being integrated (in the team)," Lahm said. "In Munich he was merely waiting for the ball to fall to his feet. I am missing any imagination on how Mbappe's career shall be made to blossom."

Lahm, who lifted the World Cup in 2014 with a 1-0 win over Messi's Argentina, also had few kind words for the Argentina captain who led his team to the 2022 World Cup title in Qatar.

"Messi is integrated in the Argentina team just like Mbappe in the France team. All for one and one for all. But his abilities (in Munich where PSG lost 2-0 on March 8) were being deployed with no reason or target. Messi was helpless and desperate."

PSG look set to win another French league title this season but are unable to find success in Europe, lacking stability and a club culture that has helped teams like Real Madrid, Liverpool and Bayern to establish themselves as continental powerhouses.

"Politically the investment in PSG may have been worth it," Lahm said. "The owners, the country of Qatar, has used Paris and Europe for its own security policy and geopolitics, including its players. Such is the world.

"But football is different. Big teams, which identify with people, develop in a process. This can only succeed through cooperation, solidarity and community. These are the values of Europe but not of PSG."

Reuters has approached PSG for comment on Lahm's assertions.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!


Next In Football

Soccer-Guardiola in top three coaches of all time - Puyol
Soccer-Liverpool buy back Melwood to create 'elite' training ground for women's team
Soccer-World Cup caused dangerous levels of fixture congestion, says FIFPRO
Soccer-Midfielder Rice will leave West Ham, says chairman
Soccer-Liverpool sign midfielder Mac Allister from Brighton
Soccer-'Really, really surreal', Women's World Cup trophy lands in Australia
Soccer-FIFPRO warns players against signing for Egyptian clubs
Soccer-Benzema fever hits Jeddah ahead of Al-Ittihad presentation
Soccer-City must 'right the wrongs' of 2021 Champions League final loss - Walker
Soccer-West Ham condemn fan behaviour after Fiorentina's Biraghi hit by object

Others Also Read