Shortly after Paris Saint-Germain's massive 4-0 win over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie last month, Italian midfielder and potential Chelsea transfer target Marco Verratti told the media that he was set to stay in light of PSG’s ambitious "project" to become one of Europe's biggest clubs suddenly looking much more promising than it had over the previous seasons.
However, the Parisians bottled up their advantage with an incredible 6-1 loss to Barça at the Camp Nou on Wednesday. As the football world marveled at the result and all the incidents in the game, not many cared about the crushed souls of PSG.
"Three goals in seven minutes — I cannot find an explanation. This is a game I will never forget and I hope it will serve as a lesson to everyone. We lost 6-1, so it was not the referee's fault. We are the first ones responsible for this."
-Marco Verratti; Source: L'Equipe via Goal.com
The sight of a visibly distraught Verratti leaving the pitch quickly reignited the rumours linking the 24-year-old with an exit from the Ligue 1 powerhouse, but sporting director Patrick Kluivert moved even quicker to throw cold water on anyone's transfer hopes.
"Verratti is the cornerstone of our midfield and things will remain that way. He is not going anywhere this year."
-Patrick Kluivert; Source: Le 10 Sport via Goal.com
So ... next year?
Before this season started and a few times during it as well, Verratti (and his agent) had spoken of how he wants to “win something important” — i.e. not just more French titles. This latest European disappointment is surely not going to help convince him of the promise of PSG’s project. Time’s a-ticking, Marco. You’re not going to be young forever...
That said, Verratti’s is on a long, long, long-term contract and there’s something to be said for actual loyalty in these modern times. But this is probably not the last time we’ll be hearing of Marco Verratti’s name in the rumor mill.