Lionel Messi and PSG warned Champions League hopes doomed over familiar failures

Paris Saint-Germain are being tipped as favourites for the Champions League, after a summer where Achraf Hakimi, Gini Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi all arrived in the French capital

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  • 04:00, 15 Sep 2021
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Nice roof, shame about the foundations.


Steve McManaman fears Paris Saint Germain's breathtaking cast of superstar forwards is doomed to fall short of Champions League glory again “because they can't defend properly.”

In most football contexts, a forward line of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi would blow the opposition away.

But BT Sport analyst McManaman has warned PSG's embarrassment of riches will test manager Mauricio Pochettino's skills of man-management to the limit.

The former England winger said: “We all want 30 superstars in our squad, but you have to ask Pochettino how he's going to keep that mob happy.

“I would hate to be in his shoes, explaining to Angel Di Maria why he's not in the team this week because he's got to find room for Messi, Neymar, Mbappe, Wijnaldum and the rest.

Messi joined PSG after leaving Barcelona

NurPhoto/PA Images)

“That's going to be a hell of a job, trying to fit them all in and keep them happy.

“I would make Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Bayern Munich the favourites in this year's Champions League – and PSG should be right up there, too, because of the people they have, although I can't see them winning it because they can't defend properly.

“And watching them play, I'm not sure they have the inclination to defend properly.

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“As much as I love Pochettino, it's going to be hard for him without the ball to get his team running, fighting, working hard to regain possession as one unit.

“I've seen both sides of PSG in recent years – I was at the games where they beat Barcelona 4-0 and then lost the second leg 6-1, and I can't see them getting the equilibrium right.

“I just can't see them leaving out any of the big guns if there's a game where they might be defending a slender lead and they need to keep it tight.

“How do you tell one of those superstars they are on the bench for a Champions League quarter-final or semi-final?”

*BT Sport is the exclusive home of UEFA Champions League football. Watch every game of the 2021-22 competition live on TV, online and on the BT Sport app. Visit

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