Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain failed to manage a shot on target as they went out of the Champions League with a 2-0 defeat at Man City – and fans know that will mean a summer of speculation that Neymar will return to Barcelona.
Neymar ‘s pre-match bluster, which began immediately after last week’s 2-1 home defeat, came to nothing as last season’s finalists went out with a whimper at the City of Manchester Stadium, going out to two goals from Riyad Mahrez – a player born in France who rejected PSG as a youngster.
City had never reached the final before, and their inexperience was tested even less once Angel di Maria – formerly of City’s arch-rivals, Manchester United – was sent off shortly after Mahrez’s 63rd-minute second.
While City can look forward to the final in Istanbul at the end of the month and an imminent Premier League title, Paris must hope Lille, who are a point above them in the Ligue 1 table, slip up in the final three games of the season to give them a chance of being domestic champions again.
“We believed until the red card,” Paris midfielder Marco Verratti somewhat fancifully claimed, despite the fact that his side needed to score three goals in little more than 20 minutes at that point against a team on a run of six successive Champions League wins.
“We created a lot of chances. We played a lot better than them but then we conceded a goal from the first chance they had, like in the first leg. But that’s how it is when you play big teams.”
In reality, the main manifestation PSG’s performance has created is inevitable rumors about the most expensive player in the world’s future, which many feel could be at Barcelona, where a potential partnership with Lionel Messi would surely be an enticing option for him.