An hour before Barcelona faced PSG on Tuesday, most pundits took it for granted that the French champions would try to sign Leo Messi in June and, if successful, his arrival would cause the departure of Kylian Mbappe, presumably to Real Madrid.
In life everything has a limit, even the shamelessness with which PSG and Manchester City mock UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, and it seems that signing Messi to play alongside Neymar and Mbappe would far exceed that limit.
An hour after Mbappe inflicted the now traditional collapse of Barcelona in the Champions League, those same pundits said exactly the opposite despite the fact that the same protagonists were present. How can PSG let go of a phenomenon like Mbappe, who is the star of the future, to bring in an ageing Messi? It’s irrelevant that those same pundits spoke of Mbappe being in a state of stagnation, and that he was in the shadow of Neymar.
It’s clear that not even the best players in the world escape excessive analysis based on just one game. And speaking of analysis, I was surprised by one of the most brilliant commentators of football, Jorge Valdano.
“Mbappe is further away from Real Madrid than ever after tonight. He could demand 30 million [euros salary], the same as Neymar charges, and I think that only PSG can give that to him,” Valdano said.
His opinion was shared by many Madridistas who, as a result of his devastating display at the Camp Nou, saw his signing fade beyond the horizon.
On the contrary, I continue to see the French forward at the same distance between Real Madrid: exactly 496 days away, when his PSG contract expires.
That’s because he has been diplomatically avoiding contract negotiations with the French club for the last two years.
As is the case at Barcelona with Messi, the first commandment at PSG is to pass the ball to Neymar.
The fact that he played the game of his life precisely on the day that Neymar was absent doesn’t push Mbappe further away from Real Madrid, who need a world class star. Quite the contrary.