Skip­per Silva a sym­bol of PSG’s fail­ure

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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.

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