Sunday, June 26

Nasser Al-Khelaifi warns ‘bling-bling’ PSG stars they could be sold

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has warned the club’s ‘bling-bling’ players – including Neymar – that they could be sold this summer as he looks to build a team of Parisians.

Although PSG reclaimed their Ligue 1 crown in 2021/22, their long-term dream of winning the Champions League was once again put on hold courtesy of an agonising last 16 defeat at the hands of eventual champions Real Madrid.

Given the attacking quality at their disposal – including Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi – Les Parisiens also flattered to deceive in terms of playing style under head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentine is expected to be sacked, following director of football Leonardo out of the exit door after highly-regarded Luis Campos was installed as an adviser.

Speaking to Le Parisien on Tuesday, club Al-Khelaifi revealed that sweeping changes were coming at Parc des Princes.

‚ÄúDreams are one thing, reality is another. Perhaps we should change our slogan… dream bigger is good, but today we must be realistic, we don’t want flashy, bling-bling anymore, it’s the end of the glitter.

“We want players who love the club, who love to fight, who love to win,” he said. “And we want this mentality to spread throughout the club.”

Asked about Neymar’s future at PSG, Al-Khelaifi said: “What I can tell you is that we expect all the players to do much more than they did last season. Much more!

“They all have to be at 100 per cent. Obviously, we weren’t good enough to go far. For next season, the objective is clear: work every day at 200%. Give everything we have for this shirt, give the maximum and we’ll see the result. We must become humble again. We have to change to avoid injuries, suspensions and fouls that turn a match upside down.

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“We have to stop saying: ‘We want to win this and that and that’. We build. You have to be disciplined, on and off the pitch. Anyone who wants to stay in their comfort zone, who doesn’t want to fight, will stay on the sidelines.

“And we have to create a real team, find a real collective spirit. That will be the mission of the new coach. We want players who are proud to represent PSG and ready to fight every day.”

Asked whether certain members of the squad were paid too much, Al-Khelaifi replied: “No, just compare with the salaries of clubs abroad. Perhaps they simply don’t have any offers…”

“The Covid period has greatly reduced the market and the means of the clubs. This is also a reality. Now, PSG’s position is clear: Players who are not part of the project will have to leave. Some have taken advantage of the situation, now it’s over!”

Al-Khelaifi also revealed he long-term ambition to field a team of Paris-born players.

“My goal for the next few years is to have only Parisian players in our team,” he continued. “There is so much talent in our region. The best players from our region deserve to play for PSG. It will take time, but it is a goal.”

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