Lionel Messi and Neymar were roundly booed by PSG fans during the club’s match with Bordeaux on Sunday.
The duo were the focal point of fan ire in the wake of the Paris club’s disappointing exit from the Champions League. The Ligue 1 club were knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage by Real Madrid.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side had looked in complete control, leading 2-0 on aggregate after Kylian Mbappe’s first-half strike at the Santiago Bernabeu.
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‘We were all affected’
Neymar and – latterly – Messi were signed with the primary intention of seeing PSG to Champions League glory, but after disappointing performances in both legs of the last-16 loss, the pair were the focus of fan resentment before – where their names were jeered – and during the match.
And PSG boss Pochettino said he was “sad” at their treatment after the 3-0 win that sent them 15 points clear at the top of the table.
"Everyone who loves PSG is sad after the disappointment of Madrid,” Pochettino said following the 3-0 win over Bordeaux. “I’m sad with what I experienced today.
"We were all affected.
"We understand the disappointment and the frustration. We’re all living it together, as a team.
"We have a duty to take responsibility for what happened. We share this disappointment with the supporters."
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'PSG built backwards'
While Pochettino said he was disappointed by the reaction of some PSG fans, Maxime Dupuis, of Eurosport France, says the behaviour of the home support was years in the making, and stems from a lack of forward planning at boardroom level.
PSG, he says, have too much strength for Ligue 1, but are not built for success at the elite level of the sport either. While fans aired their frustrations at the players, the ultimate responsibility is with those running the club, namely Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Leonardo.
“What happened on Wednesday was the - spectacular- last straw,” he begins.
“As PSG are too big for Ligue 1, their only objective is, in a caricatured way, the Champions League. But PSG has once again failed in its quest and this elimination looks like the previous ones, against Barcelona or Manchester United.
“The fans are realising - they were starting to do so before this season - that PSG are built backwards: they accumulate individualities without building a collective. They think players will improve the team when it's the contrary that works: look at Chelsea, look at Liverpool, etc. PSG is a life-size game of Football Manager where management buy what is shining and prestigious - hello Sergio Ramos.
“It's been like that for years and it's what the fans blame on the Parisian management, Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Leonardo in particular.
“Against Madrid, Mbappé was flawless. Messi did nothing and Neymar, without being the worst, is not at the level expected of him since his arrival in 2017 - he is often injured and with a questionable lifestyle. And now he has signed for PSG until 2025. Messi has two goals in Ligue 1. Now the fans see that of the three strikers, they are going to lose the one around whom Paris should be built.”
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