From the carefully-branded Air Jordan shirts, to Neymar’s histrionics and the bro-code chest bumps, there’s a lot to dislike about PSG – but a lot to love too

The phrase: “That represents everything wrong with modern football,” is almost exclusively used by people who represent everything wrong with modern football.

Half-and-half scarves, purchased by fans on once-in-a-lifetime-trips to the ground of the team they’ve supported from overseas for decades?

“Everything wrong with modern football.”

A fan pictured at a stadium eating anything that isn’t an artery-clogging mess of congealed meat and onion in a roll?

“Everything wrong with modern football.”

People enjoying the experience of either playing in or watching a match in any way at all?

“Everything wrong with modern football.”

When it comes to Paris Saint Germain, however, the inner Roy Keane that lurks within us all is never far from the surface.

Shortly before Wednesday’s Champions League win over Liverpool, PSG announced they would be wearing an all-white kit, in honour of a new partnership with “Air Jordan.”

I’d defy even a Manchester United fan to read the original press release and not end up supporting Liverpool for the evening.

Michael Jordan himself is supposed to have said the “Jordan Brand and Paris Saint-Germain share a distinct position in sport and style.” PSG are distinct all right. They’ve turned Ligue 1 into a one-party state, with the opposition so universally weak it’s like sparring with Ewoks before a fight with Floyd Mayweather.

The net result is the Parc Des Princes becomes a cauldron of testosterone whenever a Champions League fixture comes around, as it’s the only time the result is in any reasonable doubt, although they still need to employ a semi-coherent imbecile with a microphone to help generate the atmosphere.

It’s almost too obvious to do a joke about Leonardo Di Caprio, who was watching from the stands, being only the third most convincing actor in the stadium, but what the hell, let’s do it anyway.

Liverpool dishing out Neymar’s own medicine

The rage he summoned in The Wolf of Wall Street is as nothing compared to the howling insanity displayed by Neymar and Edinson Cavani, when the referee awarded Liverpool a penalty just before half-time.

The irony here was that, at 2-0 down and having been largely outplayed, Liverpool earned this lifeline through a piece of theatricality far subtler than anything Neymar could produce.

Angel Di Maria lunged into a challenge on the edge of the area, Sadio Mané saw the tackle coming and, in classic Wayne Rooney style, dived a fraction of a second before contact was made.

This was reported in the British press as a “clear foul”. It certainly looked like it but slow motion replays revealed Mané’s deception. Cavani was apoplectic. Neymar did the deathless “Neymar laugh” he does whenever he pretends he’s been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Milner scored, but Liverpool never looked like equalising during a taut second half, against opponents who seemed almost possessed.

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In the 84th minute PSG’s Brazilian defenders Thiago Silva and Marquinhos did a “chest bump”, jumping into each other like a pair of mating whales and roaring with primal joy.

Why? Because the ball had just gone out for a goal kick. This is not normal. If they’re this pumped up when a Liverpool attack breaks down in a group stage match, there’s a risk they might spontaneously combust if they get as far as the quarter-finals.

Jurgen Klopp said they’d made Liverpool look like butchers and claimed Marco Veratti should have been sent off for a “reducer” on Joe Gomez, although he was on slightly shakier ground when he accused them of “unsportsmanlike behaviour” which while accurate, was slightly hypocritical.


Do PSG represent everything wrong with modern football, or are they symptomatic of a wider crisis in humanity? Perhaps both, although I’d be lying if I claimed I didn’t find this macabre pantomime perversely entertaining.

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