Leonardo invited himself for an informal press point on Wednesday evening at the end of PSG-Sochaux (1-0). In front of a small thirty journalists, for what should remain off but which has leaked everywhere since, the sporting director wanted to be combative and optimistic.
He tried to chase away the famous negativity for nearly 26 minutes, already his communication theme in February just before the round of 16 against Dortmund. The idea of a curse had been entertained a few moments earlier in the same amphitheater of the Parc des Princes by… the coach. Thomas Tuchel, visibly affected by the cascade of injuries and uncertainties, spoke of “negative news”, regretting a scenario which is repeated over and over again as the Champions League approaches.
Without really knowing who he was addressing exactly - the environment, the interested parties, the supporters, Tuchel perhaps -, Leonardo sprayed everyone, from the Professional Football League (LFP) to the French Federation (FFF) via Saint-Etienne, French referees or doping controls. Masked, he did not take gloves, falling in line with the president of the club, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, a member of the board of directors of the LFP, who has not stopped criticizing from the inside for months the functioning of French football.
"We do not put the French teams in the best conditions"
Thus, Leo emphasizes that we "may have played the final of the Coupe de France to please the president", Noël Le Graët, known during the health crisis for his lobby at the Elysee for stop the championship. The leader hammers home his idea, mezza voce, unlike Jean-Michel Aulas who denounced the same themes loud and clear. “While Atalanta took over Serie A and has since played 15 matches, we couldn't even meet at the training center !,” Leonardo recalls. I am not here to discuss whether we should continue or not, I am not a doctor or President of the Republic, but the fact is that it brings us in a situation different from the others. "
This is his main subject: if Paris lacks rhythm, does not necessarily play well and the injuries follow one another, the context is responsible. “There are problems which are the consequence of what happened. This is not an excuse but a fact, ”he explains. Recalling that the League scheduled the first day of the championship at the same time as the final of the Champions League (initially the UEFA counted on August 29, before reviewing his plans), the former midfielder there do not go by four ways: "We do not put the French teams in the best conditions for the Champions League", adding that it is "more complicated in France than in other championships".
A hook for the League, an uppercut for the FFF and its national direction of refereeing, Leo continues to settle scores by regretting the lack of protection around Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, regularly dried in the stadiums of L 1. He begins with a joke - "I'm not going to talk about a referee, you know how it ends" - before delivering his thoughts: Neymar suffers "on average 8 serious faults per match. It's a fact: everyone gets into it ”.
"If we lose, are we going to die?"
Leonardo defends the interests of his club, this is one of his missions. The scope of his messages remains uncertain while in the League and the FFF, it is estimated that PSG complains too much and too often. But there are soon elections everywhere (September 10 at the LFP, March 13 at the FFF) and his speech is perhaps aimed at this double deadline.
While he confirmed in passing that Thiago Silva would not stay at the club beyond Final 8, he evaded the subject Thomas Tuchel, who "has a contract" and who "won everything" this season. Would he survive an elimination against the Italians? “We didn't discuss anything,” Leo answers elliptical.
PSG ExpressThe essential newsletter for Parisian supporters
Your email address is collected by Le Parisien to enable you to receive our news and commercial offers. Learn more
In the context of this singular recovery, the Brazilian added the reasons for satisfaction, seeing "a very close-knit group", emphasizing the virtues of these friends first: "I have never seen a team where for each birthday they are 40! "He also had other figures up his sleeve, in view of Bergamo:" If we are not at 100%, we must find a way to win at 80 "or even:" We will not be sad if we score one goal in three games and we won the final on penalties. We will be champion too ”. And if the edifice breaks its mouth, Leo balances the final sentence: "If we lose, are we going to die?" ". Impossible at 50, the age of the club and his.