Mbappé and Messi; PSG and Barcelona

French football is embarrassed about the incidents that occurred during the closing stages of PSG-Marseille, as five red cards were brandished. It was an explosion of buried tension between two giants of French football with a deep and intense rivalry. Marseille remain the only team in the country to have won the Champions League, and this sees them carry an aura of respect throughout France. PSG are the ones to have spent 1,500 million euros to steal that space but without success, and they are seen as an artifice, a club with foreign roots having taken hold in Paris, a capital whose intellectual elites have always looked at football with arrogance, as a 'provincial thing.'

PSG-Marseille punishment ahead

It is easy to see how the PSG players lose their minds given their persistent fiascos in the Champions League, and with the latest in Lisbon irritating them in a special way, providing an auspicious path to the final via Atalanta and Leipzig before defeat. The trauma of this latest failure explains their terrible start to the French championship, with two losses, first against recently-promoted Lens and then now against Marseille where we saw such serious incidents. Incidents that included racist insults to Neymar and a spit by Di María, both incidents that will be investigated and, I suppose, that will see the players severely punished, because these are scandals that demand a strong response.

Nasty | Marseille's Spanish defender Alvara Gonzalez head-to-head with Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar.

The angish of Mbappé and Messi

After the game, Vilas Boas reiterated the point about 1,500 million being spent not to win the Champions League and reminded Tuchel that Ancelotti is now at Everton and Emery at Villarreal. Mbappé, who was absent due to coronavirus, has announced that he will not renew with PSG, which is the equivalent of offering himself to the transfer market or, if preferred, to Madrid, who back in the day let him go by choosing not to release Bale. I sense the same anguish in Mbappé over the Champions League misses as that of Messi, just as I see in PSG the same suffering as that of Barça, which began the process of autophagy when the wait became unbearable. The ‘beautiful cup’, the Argentinean described it. The one that gives and the one that takes away, as a bullfighter would say.