On the heels of Rodney Marsh calling them “greedy bastards,” the group of Paris Saint-Germain players who attended the NBA in Paris game last Friday are on the receiving end of more criticism.
In an interview with RMC Sport, via Goal, former France international and FC Bayern Munich defender Willy Sagnol had plenty to say about Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappé, Neymar Jr., Thiago Silva, Marco Verratti, and several others taking some time out from their busy schedule to enjoy a basketball game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Hornets.
“The first thing that a top athlete must do is sleep. They have the right to do anything but it’s been going on for seven years, when you’ve got guys like Verratti who can only play for an hour.”
“We had the same debate last year. I don’t want to lock them up. I just want them to say that at some point: ‘Football is my work, my tool is my body. And when I ask it to do certain things, I’m not superhuman.'”
Sagnol makes a good point about the players needing sleep but I think his frustration is misplaced. The real issue is the fact that PSG has played 27 matches this season after 8 p.m. out of a total of 32, and 15 of those matches were away from the Parc des Princes.
Those late kickoffs have a real impact on the performance and health of the players. L’Equipe has a fascinating article about how sleep impacts an athlete.
“An athlete who sleeps less than 8 hours per 24 hours increases the risk of having a muscular accident by 1.7 percent,” François Duforez, sports and sleep doctor, said.
Could the players have stayed home that night and caught up on some sleep? Sure. However, I think it’s a bit unreasonable to expect them not to attend a major sporting event that doesn’t come to Paris that often especially with the launch of the PSG x Jordan kit the previous day. The club likely encouraged them to be in attendance that night to show off some of the new pieces from the collection.
The easier solution would be to adjust the start time for PSG’s games. I understand that might not be ideal for the television broadcasters but if they truly cared about the performance and health of the players, they would spread these late kick-offs around to other Ligue 1 teams.
Want more PSG? Visit the PSG Talk Podcast Network page and subscribe to PSG Talking, The 1970, and 24th & Parc.