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PSG's diehards get ultra angry with club's sporting director over Marseille accolade

PSG's sporting director Leonardo complimented Marseille during a social media conversation with PSG  fans.
PSG's sporting director Leonardo complimented Marseille during a social media conversation with PSG fans. AFP/Archives
3 min

Paris Saint-Germain’s diehard supporters group on Thursday attacked the club’s sporting director for what they consider ill-judged comments about the city’s sporting fervour and praise for their bitter rivals Marseille.

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During a social media chat with PSG fans on Tuesday, Leonardo, who played for PSG between 1996 and 1997, said he felt that Marseille was more of a football city than the capital because Paris had a greater variety of social and cultural options.

“Me, when I was here, we played football on Fridays because Saturday and Sunday there were other activities,” he added.

But the Collectif ultras Paris (CUP) reacted vehemently to the Brazilian’s slur and also lambasted him for not meeting the group since he became one of the club’s most important officials in 2019.

"It is not because the richness and beauty of the City of Light is not limited to football that we are not a football city and that we do not breathe PSG,” they said in a press release.

Legend

PSG’s clashes with Marseille were the stuff of French football legend. But since the Qatari owners started pumping hundreds of millions of euros into PSG, they have become one-sided bores.

Marseille’s 1-0 victory at the Parc des Princes in September was their first league victory over PSG since 2011.

However, PSG, spearheaded by a 500 million euro troika of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Angel Di Maria have won eight consecutive games to establish a five point lead at the top of Ligue 1 while Marseille have stuttered and lie fourth, six points behind the champions.

Both Marseille and PSG share similar fortunes in this season’s Uefa Champions League though. Marseille are bottom of their group after defeats against Olympiakos, Manchester City and Porto while PSG are third in their pool following setbacks against Manchester United and RB Leipzig.

History man

"It's surprising that Mr Leonardo didn't rather think to mention the unparalleled fervour, loyalty and dedication of his own fans, even and especially when our club was on the verge of relegation,” added the CUP statement.

“But to do so, you have to know the history of our club, love it and respect it. Above all, it is undoubtedly necessary to know the supporters and the people of the Parc des Princes.”

It will be impossible to gauge the supporters’ intensity for a few weeks. Crowds are banned at sporting venues as part of the French government’s attempts to stem a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

And even when the CUP diehards are allowed into the Parc des Princes, Leonardo is unlikely to be clubbable.

“My role is really linked to the sporting side," he said. "And that's why all the administrative things in relation to the club, is not me."

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