PSG likes to complicate life.

While, on paper, Paris has everything to return to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after two years of absence, tensions between Kylian Mbappé and coach Luis Enrique raise fears of yet another crash in the queen of continental competitions .

After eliminations in the round of 16 in the last two editions, PSG has a dream opportunity to reach the European top 8 at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastián against Real Sociedad.

Winners 2-0 at the Parc des Princes on February 14, the Parisians, solid leaders in L1, have a theoretically comfortable mattress before coming up against a Basque team plagued by doubt and which conceded a fifth defeat in six matches , Saturday in Seville (3-2).

PSG is its own worst enemy

In poor form, Real Sociedad is stagnating in 7th place in La Liga and has also just been eliminated from the Copa del Rey by the modest Mallorca team.

In its last 10 matches, the Basque club has, in addition to its five losses, three draws and only two victories.

The Rouge et Bleu will train at 6:30 p.m., on the eve of the round of 16 second leg of the @ChampionsLeague.


— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_inside) March 4, 2024

So what could stop PSG?

As is often the case in the Champions League: PSG itself.

The Parisians' record in this competition is the main source of hope for the Basques.

Paris has in the past been able to let slip an advantage acquired in the first leg (the famous Barcelona "comeback" of 2017 but also against Manchester United in 2019 and Real Madrid in 2022).

And he is anything but calm away from home in C1 this season: 4-1 defeat at Newcastle and 2-1 at San Siro against AC Milan, draw with difficulty obtained at Dortmund (1-1) to qualify at the last minute in the round of 16.

From there to imagining a new incredible scenario including the psychodrama around Kylian Mbappé, there is only one step.

As the crucial meeting approaches, Luis Enrique's management of his top scorer – 32 goals in all competitions this season, far ahead of Randal Kolo Muani's nine and Gonçalo Ramos' eight – may raise questions.

Can the management of the Mbappé case destabilize Paris?

Indeed, since Kylian Mbappé's departure intentions filtered out, the day after the first leg against Real Sociedad, the former Spain coach takes great pleasure in preparing for life after "Sooner or later, we will have to get used to playing without Kylian,” he said.

“It’s just about handling a situation the way I think is best for the team.”

The Spanish coach had done very little without Mbappé since his arrival at the head of the Parisian team last summer.

But now he has just done it in the last three matches, starting him on the bench against Nantes on February 17 (2-0), replacing him at the hour mark against Rennes last week (1- 1), and from the break in Monaco (0-0), where the star began his career.

Friday March 1, shortly after the start of the second period without the top scorer in the club's history, replaced by Randal Kolo Muani, the agitation reached the stands of the Louis-II stadium: Mbappé was walking around the field on the athletics track, taking his time and greeting the public, all smiles in his tracksuit.

Like nothing ever happened.

Except that then, he joined not the bench, but the platform, not far from the usual place of Prince Albert II of Monaco - absent on Friday - to sit next to his mother Fayza Lamari, who manages his interests .

🧐 What do you think of @KMbappe's attitude after his half-time exit tonight?


— Prime Video Sport France (@PVSportFR) March 1, 2024

Already, during the match against Rennes, Mbappé's behavior had caused debate at the time of his replacement.

He had thrown it away – out of clumsiness?

– his captain’s armband towards the Portuguese international Vitinha.

Last week, Luis Enrique even assured that the team would be “much better” next season.

A blunt management of the star which risks getting back in his face.

In the event of a misstep in San Sebastian, his management of the Mbappé case will inevitably be a source of debate.

In addition, the PSG coach would emerge extremely weakened from this episode, less than a year after his appointment.

And on the side of “Kyky”, can the downgrade affect his performance during the match?

The player's entourage says no, telling AFP that the 2018 world champion is "focused on Tuesday's match" in Spain.

The love story between Kylian Mbappé and PSG is moving more and more towards a fishtail ending after seven years of romance...

The France 24 summary of the week

invites you to look back at the news that marked the week

I subscribe

Take international news everywhere with you!

Download the France 24 application