Paris Saint-Germain were convinced that persuading Kylian Mbappe to stay would finally deliver them Champions League glory, but the failure to build a strong enough team around the France superstar has contributed to another early European exit.
A 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich in Germany saw the Qatar-owned club lose their last-16 tie 3-0 on aggregate, falling in the first knockout round for the fifth time in seven years.
There were celebrations last May when Mbappe agreed a new three-year contract to stay with Lionel Messi and Neymar in the French capital rather than join Real Madrid.
The appointments of super scout Luis Campos as head of recruitment and Christophe Galtier as coach to replace Mauricio Pochettino were supposed to be followed by the building of an exciting new team.
“It is not about the construction of the squad. It is just the story of the season,” said Galtier. “We were missing important players. The squad, over the two legs, was seriously weakened.”
He had a point, with Mbappe only able to make a cameo appearance off the bench after a thigh injury as PSG lost 1-0 in the first leg.
Neymar is missing with an ankle injury, while Presnel Kimpembe is out and fellow defenders Marquinhos and Nordi Mukiele both came off during yesterday’s game.
“It has been a very busy season. Players’ bodies have been asked to do a lot,” Galtier said.
“There was the World Cup, and obviously when you get to the last 16 it is good to have everyone available.”
PSG placed their hope in Mbappe and Messi turning the tie around in Munich, but the Argentine World Cup winner had little impact while the 24-year-old Mbappe saw just 32 touches of the ball.
“As I said in my first Champions League press conference this season, we were going to do our maximum. The truth is this is our maximum,” admitted Mbappe, whose own future will now again become the subject of increasing speculation