By Jerry Mancini.
The 2018/19 season ended disappointingly for Paris Saint-Germain with only the expected Ligue 1 title to their name.
The side from the French capital invested heavily in players, yet results were poor with a team that should have achieved more in all competitions.
The Coupe de France finals ended in a shootout loss to Stade Rennais, a Coupe de la Ligue exit came in the quarter-finals against Guingamp, and the Champions League saw an early exit in the round of 16 against Manchester United.
While the results were poor, plenty of PSG games went down to the wire and had dramatic endings.
After defeat in the final of the Coupe de France, Neymar made headlines after getting into a heated argument with a fan.
While the team was walking up the stairs in the stands to receive their prize for Second Place, a fan made negative comments to the PSG players which triggered Neymar to approach the fan and appeared to have punched him.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel didn’t take this well.
“I do not like it,” he told the media after the game. “You cannot do that. It is simply not possible to do it.
“It was not easy going up to collect the medals after the defeat — it was difficult for me, as well as everybody else.
“However, we have to accept it. If we win, it is easier. In defeat, you must show respect — always. You simply cannot get into conflict with a spectator.”
PSG had what seemed to be a comfortable 2-0 going into the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie, two away goals at that.
But PSG lost 3-1 at home and Manchester United ended up being the side to go through on away goals.
Overall, it was a very disappointing season as they won only the league title and underachieved in all other competitions.
With all that has happened in past seasons, the big question is: should Neymar stay with PSG or is it time for them to part ways?
The forward, who joined PSG in 2017 for €198m, has stated that he wanted to leave the club.
Results have been poor as he has been regularly injured or out of the side, and has an attitude on and off the pitch. It may be time for the team and the star player to go their separate ways.
When PSG acquired Neymar from Barcelona it was envisioned that his talent and capabilities would help the French champions advance further in Champions League.
This has not been the case, and main reason is fitness. Injuries have hampered the Brazilian and last season he only played a total of six games in the Champions League and was not available for the games that matter the most.
When he has made it onto the pitch this season, Neymar has shown a resurgence in his game and has scored 13 goals and added six assists in 15 Ligue 1 matches.
He appeared in three Champions League games with two goals and two assists having missed two games through a suspension carried over from last year for insulting officials on social media.
In their first leg in Champions League against Borussia Dortmund, the striker scored a pivotal goal to give the French team some hope after losing 2-1, but he was not happy at being rested prior to this game.
After their loss against Dortmund, the Brazilian showed frustration towards the PSG management.
“It’s hard not to play for four games,” he said. “Unfortunately, it was not my choice, it came from the club, the doctors; they’re the ones who made the decision, one that I did not like.
“We’ve had a lot of discussion on that. I wanted to play, I was feeling well but the club were afraid, and in the end I’m the one suffering.”
While the Brazilian is having a good year with PSG on the pitch, he has shown clear frustration towards his club.
Tuchel needs to manage these factors this season if he is to have a chance at winning the Champions League.
Although the striker’s season has been productive, the past should not be overwritten as the Brazilian was disgruntled this past summer and currently has mixed emotions.
While he has shown a new commitment to the club and is having a good season, selling Neymar will always be a question as long as Barcelona continue to show interest in their former player.
PSG striker Edison Cavani has commented on the issue, saying: “I think he still has a lot to give PSG until the last day he will be here as a player, and a lot to give to football too.”
Cavani and Neymar didn’t start off well in the 2017/18 season but have since developed a better relationship.
The Uruguayan makes a good point as Neymar still has a lot to offer for PSG. It is evident that selling the player will be very difficult as the price is high.
With the mixed emotions the forward has shown, PSG will need to make a decision in the summer.
In the meantime, Tuchel and management need to turn this situation into one that will benefit PSG, otherwise, it will be a long season for the club and possibly one shorter for the manager.