The French giants’ Champions League hopes are over for another season, a 3-0 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich means one of the world’s richest clubs will once again be unable to call themselves the kings of Europe.
Wednesday’s defeat may not have been the emotional blow of previous exits – think back to 2017, when Barcelona overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit to beat PSG 6-1 at the Camp Nou, or even last year, when PSG were ahead by 2 -0 on aggregate with half an hour to play at Real Madrid only to concede three goals in 17 minutes to Karim Benzema.
But the impact will still be felt. Here, Athletics looks at the possible effects on and off the pitch.
How much is Champions League prize money worth?
A club entering the Champions League group stage is awarded €15.64m (£13.9m; $16.4m). They then receive €2.8 million. per group win and €930,000 for a draw.
PSG won four times and drew twice en route to the round of 16, earning €13m. 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 €10.6m bonus, a semi-final place is worth a further €12.5m and reaching the final brings a €15.5m cash injection. The club that wins the tournament can expect to receive a bonus of €4.5m.
That’s not all. A place in the UEFA Super Cup – a match between the winners of the Champions League and Europa League – is worth DKK 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) will net you a cool €4.6m.
In total, it is a possible €52.2 million. PSG have missed out in prize money alone.
Is it really that much for a club like PSG?
So no. Since they are owned by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), a subsidiary of the state-run sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, missing out on that kind of money ultimately doesn’t make a big dent in the club’s finances.
However, it would have been useful from a financial fair play (FFP) perspective.
PSG had to pay UEFA 20 million. EUR in 2014 in the first round of FFP proceedings with UEFA, and in September it was ruled that they had failed to comply with a break-even agreement between 2018 and 2022.
They were sentenced to pay an unconditional 10 million. EUR – either directly or through income from involvement in UEFA club competitions – with EUR 55 million. EUR depending on compliance with future targets over three years.
Not the biggest sums, but every little bit helps.
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Where is the price then?
Primarily in reputation. A star-studded squad should not fail to reach the last eight of the Champions League, but it is becoming an increasingly familiar story.
Since the 2012–13 season, PSG have only reached the semi-finals twice and the final once (2019–20). Tonight’s round of 16 is the fifth time they have exited before the quarter-finals in the past seven years.
PSG’s powerbrokers know that it is only by winning Europe’s elite club competition that their grand sporting project will truly have its sporting ambitions fulfilled, despite the presence of marquee names such as Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi, who have already taken the club to a new level in terms of the following.
After the World Cup, where Mbappe and Messi dominated a France-Argentina final and Achraf Hakimi helped Morocco reach the semi-finals, it was hoped that the second half of PSG’s season would be one to remember.
Instead, they broke once again when the pressure was on. Anything that follows – including, in all likelihood, a ninth Ligue 1 title in 11 years – will be little consolation.
So what happens now?
Attention is likely to turn to their head coach, Christophe Galtier, and Luis Campos, their football adviser, who appointed Galtier after the departure of Mauricio Pochettino last July.
Mbappe, whose contract expires in 2025 after signing a new three-year deal last summer, will be keen to cement his status as the best player in the world. You can already argue that he is ahead of any of his rivals, but the Champions League will elude him for at least one more season.
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The good news for PSG is that after losing the first leg in February, Mbappe made it clear that his future at the club is not linked to success in Europe.
“If I linked my future to the Champions League without wanting to show any disrespect to the club, I would have left a long time ago,” said the 24-year-old. “I don’t think this match will have any impact. I’m here and I’m very happy to be here.
“I don’t think about anything but making PSG successful.”
The easing of his contract and the recent remarks he has made will be a tonic for those at the club, but continued failures in Europe will only hasten his departure.
Messi is reaching the final stages of his career and there is uncertainty surrounding his future. His deal expires in the summer, although he is willing to extend his stay in the French capital.
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No team has a divine right to win the tournament, but such an expensive overall — even if several of the players were signed as free agents — from a salary perspective shouldn’t be eliminated without a whimper.
(Top photo: Alex Grimm/Getty Images)