“The players will have to assume their responsibilities even more than before”
By Joe Tanner
Last Updated: 16/06/19 11:28pm
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi says his players “are not here to please themselves” and has called out “celebrity behaviour” at his football club.
Off-the-field issues featured prominently in PSG’s 2018/19 season, a campaign in which Thomas Tuchel’s team won Ligue 1 but were knocked out by Manchester United in the round of 16 in the Champions League and also failed to win either of the French domestic cups for the first time since 2013.
Footage also emerged on Instagram of him lashing out at a fan in the stands at the Stade de France after PSG’s French Cup final defeat to Rennes in April – an incident which resulted in him losing the Brazil captaincy.
World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe said in May that he has “reached a turning point” in his career and “would be open to a new project”; while right-back Thomas Meunier has stated he is open to leaving the Parc des Princes.
Adrien Rabiot refused to sign a new contract leading Tuchel to drop him from his squad, and a proposed move to Barcelona fell through in January; Sky Sports News reported on Friday that the Frenchman has held talks over a move to Juventus.
Club owner Al-Khelaïfi, who in May himself denied allegations of corruption in relation to Qatar’s attempt to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships, wants a change in the players’ attitudes at PSG ahead of their 2019/20 campaign.
“The players will have to assume their responsibilities even more than before. It must be completely different,” the club president told France Football.
“They will have to do more, work more. They are not there to please themselves.
“And if they do not agree, the doors are open, ciao! I do not want to have any celebrity behaviour anymore.”
Al-Khelaifi will be hoping that Leonardo’s reappointment as PSG’s sporting director on Friday as a direct replacement for Antero Henrique will help quell some of the transfer-related problems the French domestic champions currently face.
Tuchel’s working relationship with Henrique had become increasingly strained because of the need to strengthen an injury-hit squad, a lack of January signings, and the ongoing issues surrounding Rabiot’s status at the club.
Al-Khelaifi said: “I realised that changes were essential, otherwise we went nowhere. In two minutes, the matter was settled between us.
“He will have all the sports powers. Leo, this is my guy. He is incredible. I have total confidence in him. His natural authority will do good for everyone, especially the players.”