Al-Khelaïfi parachutes in Leonardo to bring results and dismantle PSG’s ‘star’ culture

June 19 – PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi (pictured) has said that his club needs an “electroshock” to get back on track after a disappointing season marked by problems in the dressing room.

The 2018-19 season was another failure for PSG in their quest for European glory. The Parisian club won the French Ligue1 title, but failed to win either of the domestic cups for the first time since 2013 and crashed out in the last 16 of the Champions League against Manchester United. German coach Thomas Tuchel was retained, but PSG welcome a new technical director in Leonardo who replaces Antero Henrique. The Brazilian will be entrusted with all sporting matters.

The idea [of replacing Henrique with Leonardo] did not come to me in one day,” said  Al-Khelaïfi in an interview with France Football. “The idea materialised little by little. I realized that changes were essential, otherwise we were going nowhere. It was time to change. At a certain point, all clubs need to give themselves new impetus. We could not continue like this.”

The Qatari club owner, who in May denied allegations of corruption in relation to Qatar’s attempt to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships, is also seeking a change in the mentality and attitude of his players, who have developed a penchant for folding all too easily in European competition. Al-Khelaïfi wants more grit from his players instead of the star ethos that is threatening to derail the career of the club’s main player Neymar.

“The players will have to assume their responsibilities even more than before. It must be completely different,” said Al-Khelaïfi. “They will have to do more, work more. They are not there to please themselves. They are not here to have fun. And if they don’t agree with this point of view, the doors are open. I no longer want to have superstar behaviour.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1611606381labto1611606381ofdlr1611606381owedi1611606381sni@o1611606381fni1611606381