Skipper Silva a symbol of PSG’s failure
There may not have been the dramatic tears this time but there was a familiar feeling of agony for Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva on Wednesday as his side suffered their absurd Champions League humiliation.
Silva was derided for letting his emotions get the better of him as he captained Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, images of him in tears after a penalty shoot-out win over Chile seen as evidence of a mentally weak side.
That team, of course, ultimately lost 7-1 to Germany in the semifinals.
As it happened, Silva did not play in that game due to suspension, but he was there wearing the armband as PSG succumbed 6-1 to Barcelona, the second most remarkable implosion in recent footballing memory seeing the French side lose 6-5 on aggregate.
“It is difficult to talk. As captain, I am very proud of my players. But nothing worked out. That is the truth. It is a defeat that hurts,” Silva said after the game at the Nou Camp.
It is unfair to single out one player in PSG’s train-wreck of an evening, but as captain Silva has to take his share of the responsibility.
The 32-year-old has often been hailed as the best player in the world in his position but whether he should be captaining some of the planet’s leading sides is open to debate.
After 2014, Dunga replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari as Brazil coach and went on to axe Silva.
In Paris, he has worn the armband for a team whose performances in the Champions League still do not match their ambitions — four successive quarter-final exits and now elimination in the last 16 in spectacular fashion.
Unai Emery’s side failed to make the most of their stunning 4-0 win in the first leg, when Silva was absent.
On Wednesday, he was back alongside compatriot Marquinhos in the heart of the Paris defence, with youngster Presnel Kimpembe making way, but to Le
Figaro Silva was “a leader out of his depth.”
“For a long time I have said he is not my cup of tea because he is not a leader. He doesn’t bring the best out of his teammates and doesn’t stand out in difficult moments,” former PSG and France defender Dominique Bathenay told L’Equipe.
It now remains to be seen how Silva and PSG will recover from such a defeat, the club’s heaviest reverse in 20 years.
They are still alive in all three domestic competitions going into tomorrow’s trip to Ligue 1’s bottom club Lorient, although they trail league leaders Monaco by three points.
Emery, himself now under enormous pressure, will make changes and Marco Verratti is suspended.
As for Monaco, the principality club will be aiming to turn around a 5-3 first-leg deficit when they host Manchester City in the return of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.
Before that, Leonardo Jardim’s side entertain European chasers Bordeaux today.
TODAY: Monaco v Bordeaux, Guingamp v Bastia, Montpellier v Nantes, Nancy v Lille, Rennes v Dijon;
TOMORROW: St Etienne v Metz, Lyon v Toulouse, Lorient v PSG.