From Paris to Munich, travelling Paris Saint-Germain fans hoped to see their team overturn a lone deficit, against all odds, and book a spot in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. But now they will endure yet another year of missing out on Europe’s most coveted football club title.
Second-half goals from Eric Chupo-Moting and Serge Gnabry condemned PSG to a 3-0 aggregate loss to German champions, Bayern Munich.
Wednesday’s defeat now makes it five round-of-16 exits in the last seven years for PSG. This might not be the worst exit circumstance – think 2017, when Barcelona overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit by beating PSG 6-1 at Camp Nou, or even last year when PSG were 2-0 up on aggregate with half an hour to play at Real Madrid, only to concede three goals in 17 minutes to Karim Benzema.
But with the finances that have gone into the project, it will be a source of utmost concern to club administrators and fans.
Paris Saint-Germain since the takeover
PSG was a perennial underachiever before the Qatar Sports Investment (QSI) takeover in 2011. Headed by the son of the Emir and heir to the Qatari throne, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the takeover shook the entire European footballing ecosystem.
Argentinian international, Javier Pastore was signed for a French football record fee of €45m. This was a huge statement of intent, joined by Blaise Matuidi, Salvatore Sirigu, Maxwell and Kevin Gameiro, who were also brought in to reinforce the squad.
Marco Verratti, Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and even David Beckham joined the next season to make a global footprint, and indeed fuel the ambitions of dominating European football.
Since their arrival, QSI has invested 1.5 billion euros in the signings of Neymar (222m euros), Kylian Mbappe (180m euros), Achraf Hakimi (66.5m euros), Edinson Cavani (64.5m euros), Angel Di Maria (63m euros) and many more, including free agent Lionel Messi.
Before the takeover, PSG had just won 2 Ligue 1 titles in their history, but they have now won 8 of the last 11. But a Champions league résumé of one final, one semi-final, four eliminations in the quarter-finals and four in the round of 16 are not enough, even as there are rumours that the owners could seek options elsewhere if they fail to win it this season.
PSG’s Champions League record since the QSI takeover
Season Stage eliminated
- 2012-13 Quarter-finals
- 2013-14 Quarter-finals
- 2014-15 Quarter-finals
- 2015-16 Quarter-finals
- 2016-17 Round of 16
- 2017-18 Round of 16
- 2018-19 Round of 16
- 2019-20 Final
- 2020-21 Semi-finals
- 2021-22 Round of 16
- 2022-23 Round of 16
Effects of Champions League exit on PSG finances
A club entering the Champions League group stage is awarded €15.64 million (£13.9 million or $16.4 million). They then receive €2.8 million per group stage win and €930,000 for a draw.
PSG won four times and drew twice on their way to the round of 16, earning €13 million. Qualifying for the next stage earned them €9.6 million so before a ball was even kicked against Bayern Munich, PSG had accumulated €38.3 million in prize money.
But it could have been so much more. Qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals earns a bonus €10.6 million payment, a semi-final spot is worth an additional €12.5 million, and reaching the final provides a cash injection of €15.5 million. The club that wins the tournament can expect to receive a €4.5 million bonus payment.
That is not all. A spot in the UEFA Super Cup — a game between the winners of the Champions League and Europa League, is worth €3.5 million. If you win the Super Cup, the bonus is €1m, while winning the FIFA Club World Cup (a tournament played between the various continental champions) banks a cool €4.6 million.
In total, that is a possible €52.2 million PSG have missed out on in prize money alone.
This wouldn’t have been so much of a worry for PSG, financed by QSI. But it would have helped balance spending from Financial Fair Play (FFP) perspective.
What’s the way forward from here?
Kylian Mbappe was subject to a protracted transfer saga last summer before he committed to a new 3-year deal. He had earlier hinted that his future at PSG isn’t tied to Champions league success. But with Real Madrid still lurking around, it’s left to be seen if he will keep to his words.
Lionel Messi is coming to the twilight of his career, and there are uncertainties about his future. His contract expires in the summer, although he is willing to extend his stay in the French capital.
Attention is likely to turn to their head coach, Christophe Galtier, and Luis Campos, their football advisor who appointed Galtier following Mauricio Pochettino’s departure last July. Another domestic success won’t be enough consolation for PSG.