End Of An Era As Mbappe Suffers Final Paris St-Germain Failure

KYLIAN Mbappe would have dreamed of his final Champions League act as a Paris St-Germain player being to lift the trophy at Wembley. The reality was very different.

Instead, Mbappe’s final moment in the competition for PSG had him slipping over as he chased a lost cause, a through ball he was never going to reach, in a game which was by that point beyond the Parisians.

That slip in the final seconds of injury time came as Borussia Dortmund’s 2-0 aggregate victory was safe and sealed following a stout defensive display full of energetic pressing, helped by a sizeable slice of luck.

And it was a slip that provides the final word in one of the most disappointing eras of modern European football – PSG’s star-studded but unsuccessful hunt for the Champions League.

“This was unusual for Kylian Mbappe,” former England defender Rio Ferdinand, a Champions League winner with Manchester United in 2008, told TNT Sports. “He’s a guy we’re accustomed to seeing at the biggest moments, on the biggest stage, when it’s all on the line.

“All through his career he’s stepped up to the plate, but over the two legs here he was very subdued.

“He wasn’t decisive, he wasn’t clinical.”

When Qatar Sports Investment took over PSG in 2011, the biggest prize in Europe became the goal, backed by increasingly extravagant spending.

This kicked up a notch in 2017 with the world-record acquisition of Neymar from Barcelona, followed by the signing of Mbappe a year later following his crowning as a World Cup winner with France.

Then, in 2021, it seemed the dream was within touching distance as arguably the greatest of all time, Lionel Messi, was signed on a free transfer. Surely, with such a star-studded front three, a first Champions League was within their grasp.

Yet none of those three will be in Paris come the summer, scattered to the corners of Miami, Saudi Arabia and, likely, Madrid, without a Champions League trophy in the Parc des Princes cabinet.

Since 2017, PSG have won almost everything else possible; six out of seven Ligue 1 titles; three Coupes de France with a possible fourth to come this season as they face Lyon in the 2024 final; and the last-ever French League Cup.

But never the Champions League. Indeed, only three times since 2017 have PSG even gone beyond the last 16 – reaching the final in the Covid-afflicted year of 2020, the semis the season after, and then this current campaign.

PSG remain a level below the elite. They have lost all four legs of their two-legged Champions League semis in the QSI era, against Manchester City in 2020-21 and now Dortmund in 2023-24.

This failure will particularly sting, having failed to score against the fifth-placed side in the Bundesliga despite having 44 shots in two games. It’s the highest number of shots a team has had without scoring in a two-legged Champions League tie since Opta records began in 2003-04.

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