Soccer-Same old sad story for PSG despite 11th Ligue 1 title

Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - RC Strasbourg v Paris St Germain - Stade de la Meinau, Strasbourg, France - May 27, 2023 Paris St Germain's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their first goal with Kylian Mbappe and Sergio Ramos REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris St Germain claimed a record-breaking 11th Ligue 1 title but their future looks blurry after yet another failure in the Champions League.

This season, PSG's team were assembled around Kylian Mbappe, but the France forward has yet to announce whether he will activate the option to stay at the club until 2025 or if he will leave in 2024.

Mbappe was one of very few satisfactions as PSG also failed to win the French Cup, scoring 28 goals while Lionel Messi was largely disappointing and Neymar missed the second part of the season through injury.

Between the posts, Gianluigi Donnarumma did not provide the same safety he gave Italy in their Euro 2020 winning campaign and PSG exited the Champions League in the last 16 for the fifth time in the last seven campaigns.

PSG's sometimes woeful performances, unexpected for the Qatar-owned club who spent way over a billion euros in transfers since 2011, were due to some poor recruitment choices and the lack of proper team spirit.

While on paper, Mbappe, Messi and Neymar could form the most formidable attacking trio on the planet, it never really gelled and they were barely supported by a less-than-average midfield with Marco Verratti a huge disappointment throughout the season.

Since Carlo Ancelotti, arguably one of the most seasoned managers in Europe, was sacked in 2013, coaches have come and gone, all failing to get a grip on the squad in spectacular fashion.

Laurent Blanc, Unai Emery, Thomas Tuchel and Mauricio Pochettino have come short and so did Christophe Galtier this season.

Messi was suspended for an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia earlier this month but Galtier said he had nothing to do with the decision to sanction the forward, whose form has nosedived spectacularly after he won the World Cup with Argentina.

Messi scored PSG's opener from Mbappe's pass on Saturday but the 35-year-old is likely to leave the club at the end of the season. There is growing speculation that Neymar could also depart, leaving the management with a team to build almost from scratch, yet again.

PSG's refusal to admit management errors has left their most devoted fans to protest repeatedly, which culminated in some of them gathering in front of Neymar's home chanting for the Brazilian to leave.

Their wish might be heard, but what's coming next is anyone's guess, and 12 years of sometimes erratic decisions do not inspire confidence.

(This story has been corrected to make clear Messi scored the opener in paragraph 10)

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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