When Kylian Mbappe and Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain, the aim was to win the Champions League.
After years of falling way short of expectations, the pair led the Ligue 1 side to the 2019/20 final. There, they fell against Bayern Munich, but it appeared to have been a sign of progress that they even made it that far.
The 2020/21 semi-finals drew them against another heavily-backed club who have failed to deliver to the level expected of them in Europe. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have had their own struggles, and the Catalan coach hadn’t managed to reach a final in a decade, since leaving Barcelona.
But with Mbappe on the bench in a snowy Manchester, his teammates weren’t able to overcome City. Neymar was silenced, and others couldn’t carry the load.
The World Cup winner was forced to sit and watch on, clearly not fit enough to come on and make an impact, and he barely even got to warm up.
Last season, he had only just recovered from an injury ahead of their quarter-final with Atalanta. Losing 1-0, he came off the bench late on and made a huge difference, playing an important part in PSG’s late comeback to win 2-1. Had he been able to, he might have done the same on Tuesday.
But it wasn’t to be and, a Parisian himself, it was hard not to feel sorry for the 22-year-old. With his future at the Parc des Princes in doubt, he might need to make a move if he is to finally conquer Europe.