Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has claimed that Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe’s lack of defensive contributions could keep Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) from winning the UEFA Champions League this season.
PSG, who aspire to win their first UEFA Champions League this season, have enjoyed an encouraging start to the 2022-23 campaign. Winning six of their seven Ligue 1 games (one draw), they currently find themselves at the top of the table with 19 points, leading second-placed Marseille on goal difference. In the Champions League, they have won both their Group H fixtures thus far, beating Juventus 2-1 and Maccabi Haifa 3-1 respectively.
Against Maccabi Haifa, all three of Neymar, Messi, and Mbappe found themselves on the scoresheet, taking their combined goal tally to 26 for the season after 10 matches across competitions. Despite their front three’s red hot form, Balague has his reservations about their chances of European success. Explaining why the French outfit could struggle to end their Champions League drought this season, Balague said on CBS (via PSGTalk):
“Well, when you got a very active Neymar and when you’ve got Mbappé, actions will happen upfront.“It’s just that these three still don’t defend. And you cannot win things with three players not defending; I don’t think.”
Neymar criticizes referee Daniel Siebert after being booked in PSG win
Neymar found the back of the net minutes before the full-time whistle in the 3-1 win over Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday (September 14). After scoring, the Brazilian ace pulled off a familiar celebration, putting his hands on either side of his head and sticking his tongue out.
It is believed that the celebration, which has become his trademark this season, is directed at his doubters. Match official Siebert, however, seemingly found the celebration derogatory and subsequently booked the forward. Baffled by the decision, the PSG no. 10 took to Twitter to complain about the Siebert’s officiating.
He said (via Twitter):
“Total lack of respect for the athlete. This kind of thing can’t happen.“I take the yellow for simply not having done anything and I continue to be harmed. And the judge? Not even to say he was wrong, he will! a lot of lack of respect”