Football

Neymar not enough to make PSG a big club: Sacchi

Former AC Milan coach says French giants got their hierarchy wrong

Signing Neymar was not enough to turn Paris Saint-Germain into a major force in European football, according to former AC Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi.

The Italian tactician, who led Milan to two European Cup titles in 1989 and 1990, told French sports daily L’Equipe that he is unconvinced by PSG’s strategy for success in Europe and questioned whether the French side have the right club culture.

PSG spent 400 million euros (S$648 million) in the close-season transfer window buying Brazil forward Neymar for a world record fee and France international Kylian Mbappe.

Yet they were knocked out of the Champions League in the last 16 by Real Madrid on Tuesday, losing 5-2 on aggregate.

That was the sixth consecutive season they had exited Europe’s elite club competition before the semi-final stage after being taken over and bankrolled by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011.

“A player, as strong as he is, is not a project. Neymar is not a project,” Sacchi said.

“We won Serie A (in 1988) with Marco van Basten... who played three full games out of 30. If the project had been van Basten, we would not have won anything.

“We won the European Cup (predecessor of the Champions League) with (Ruud) Gullit and you know how many games he played (in 1989-90)? Only one.”

Sacchi said that PSG have yet to develop the right club culture.

“To win something, the most important thing is the club, their vision, their competence, their rules and their choices. Only after comes the team,” the Italian said.

“I have a feeling that at PSG, this hierarchy is not respected.”

In the second leg against Real, midfielder Marco Verratti was sent off midway through the second half after arguing with the referee, behaviour Sacchi said should not be tolerated by the club.

“The authority must come from the club. Last year, Juventus saw that some players were protesting because the coach (Massimiliano Allegri) was replacing them or that they were becoming arrogant, what did they do? They left Bonucci out,” said Sacchi.

“He sat in the stands on a Champions League night and the next summer they sold him. They sent the signal that at the club, it is not the players who make the rules.”  – REUTERS

neymarParis Saint-GermainArrigo Sacchi