Kylian Mbappe says he understands fan protests during Paris Saint-Germain's 1-1 draw with Lens on Saturday which sealed a 10th consecutive Ligue 1 title.

PSG clinched the French league title with four games to spare with the point against a 10-man Lens side, who equalised via Corentin Jean in the 88th minute.

Home fans started to make their exit in the 75th minute in protest of the club's management, while the final whistle was greeted by booing in sections of the Parc des Princes.

The 23-year-old Mbappe believes that while anger at the club's eventual failure to win the Champions League in spite of substantial investment in the squad this season is understandable, a need to move on remains.

"Disappointed by the fans? Me no, I'm adapting," Mbappe said. "They want to celebrate, they celebrate, they don't want to celebrate, they don't celebrate. They were disappointed, we totally understand them but it's still been a month since it's happened.

"They wanted to send a message, the club understood it. It's them who decide, we're nobody to tell them to celebrate or not. We won, we are happy."

Having contributed 22 goals and 15 assists in 31 league appearances this season, Mbappe has now secured a fifth Ligue 1 title to go with his 2018 World Cup triumph on the list of team honours.

While there's conjecture over whether the French international will stay at PSG, with his contract expiring at the end of the season, the ever-growing list of team and individual achievements is not lost upon him.

Ultimately, Mbappe says he and teammates found solace in the PSG dressing room, as fans celebrated outside the stadium.

"Maybe I'll stay and we won't win. I'm savouring the moment, it's my fifth title. I never thought I'd win so much so quickly. I'm savouring it and I'm continuing to work," he said.

"We were very happy, we celebrated in the locker room. Of course, the trophy was missing for a bigger festivity but the public was there. I think people were happy to be there. It's not because a minority of supporters left, they don't represent all PSG supporters.

"The stadium was full, we thanked them. Afterwards, we wanted to get closer to each other, meet between players to celebrate in the locker room."

The excitement around Paris Saint-Germain ahead of the 2021-22 season was palpable.

In scenes reminiscent of the 'Galactico' era at Real Madrid, PSG appeared to be attempting to build their very own version of the Harlem Globetrotters.

The signing of right-back Achraf Hakimi from Inter early in the transfer window not only filled a problem position, but also brought in one the world's leading young defenders.

Nuno Mendes, albeit on loan, followed to fill the left-back slot later in the window, but between those signings, PSG made three sensational free transfers.

Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and, to top it all off, Lionel Messi joined. Their joint presentation at the Parc des Princes was the main event ahead of a match against Strasbourg in August.

Funnily enough, Kylian Mbappe's name was booed as it was read out ahead of that match, amid speculation he could be joining Real Madrid.

That might well have been the case, but PSG turned down multiple Madrid advances. For all the glitter and glamour of their new signings, Mbappe was still seen as the key to their dream: the Champions League.

But that dream of conquering all in Europe was dashed in March. Ironically enough, by Madrid. It was Mbappe who put PSG 2-0 up in the tie before a Karim Benzema-inspired comeback sent Los Blancos into the quarter-finals.

Since then, PSG's monotonous stroll to another Ligue 1 title – albeit their first since 2020 – has continued and, inevitably, they claimed it on Saturday when they drew 1-1 with Lens.

Their fearsome front three has produced some special moments, yet last week's 2-1 Classique victory over Marseille, their nearest rivals – for lack of a better term – for the title, was played in front of a crowd lacking its most vociferous supporters, who had chosen to boycott the match in order to protest against the way the club has been run.

And though an eighth league title in 11 years of Qatar Sports Investment (QSI) ownership cannot be scoffed at, it is the least PSG should expect given the grandiose nature of their expensively assembled squad of superstars.

So, what next?

Mbappe Madrid-bound?

Mbappe is the first player to score more than 20 goals in the competition in three separate seasons before his 24th birthday since Herve Revelli, who managed it on four occasions between 1967 and 1970.

Before the Lens game, Mbappe's tally of 33 goals in all competitions was bettered by only Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski among players across Europe's top five leagues, with the France star having also outperformed his expected goals (29.5).

If this is to be his PSG swansong, then Mbappe is going out in style, if not on the biggest stage. From being jeered by his own supporters back in August, the tables turned when Mbappe was applauded in the wake of PSG's Champions League exit, with the boos reserved for Messi and Neymar instead.

PSG seem intent on trying to keep their talisman, but it really does appear to be to little avail, and it looks certain Mbappe will be lighting up LaLiga next season.

Messi to move on?

Yes, you did read that right. Messi – arguably the greatest player of all time – was booed by PSG supporters. Such is the fickle nature of football fandom, they were cheering his name by the time the next game came around, but at 34, does the Barcelona great really need to risk any damage to his reputation?

The goals have not come freely for Messi at PSG, managing only nine so far. However, he has contributed creatively with 13 assists, even if his expected assists (xA) of 9.86 suggests he has benefited from some above-standard finishing (which may be expected when you're supplying Mbappe, and Neymar too).

One has to wonder if he'll be sticking around to help the bid for an 11th league title in PSG's history next season.

 

Time up for Poch?

It is not just the future of star players up for debate. Mauricio Pochettino replaced Thomas Tuchel because the latter had failed to win the Champions League, only for Tuchel to go and win the tournament with Chelsea. Pochettino, meanwhile, saw his team lose in the semi-finals to Manchester City last season and then go down to Madrid in the last 16 this time around.

His record in Ligue 1 shows 39 wins from 55 matches, with the Argentine coach having overseen eight defeats and eight draws to register a win percentage of 70.9. Pochettino's team have scored 123 goals and conceded way less than half that amount (49).

Pochettino's 2.27 points per game ranks below his three predecessors, however; Tuchel took 2.37, as did Unai Emery, and Laurent Blanc recorded 2.35. Carlo Ancelotti (2.14) was the last PSG coach to have taken fewer points per game.

The former Tottenham boss might have been expecting a call from Manchester United, yet they have chosen Ajax's Erik ten Hag. Given the Champions League is the be-all and end-all for PSG, will Pochettino get another shot?

More, more, more?

Regardless of what happens with Mbappe, Pochettino or Messi, one thing is certain: PSG will be linked with the biggest stars on the market again.

Should Mbappe decide to pledge more of his career to PSG, will they go out and look to further bolster their chances of Champions League glory? If he leaves, how do they replace his goals?

Backing Messi and Neymar to come up with the difference should not be out of the question, yet it seems unlikely QSI would want a star player to leave and not replace him.

Paul Pogba is set to be available on a free, and it is not difficult to imagine the France star strutting his stuff in the blue of PSG. Georginio Wijnaldum's move has not been a success and the Dutchman's former club Newcastle United – now cash-rich of course – have been linked.

What of Keylor Navas? Donnarumma, despite some rash mistakes, seems to be the number one pick as goalkeeper now. Surely the Costa Rican will want to be a first choice elsewhere? Ramos has hardly been able to keep fit and PSG do lack a world-class partner for Marquinhos.

PSG may have to take a step back to finally move forward and become a dominant force in Europe, not just France. Perhaps sticking with Pochettino is the correct route, and they should forget about star signings for now and let the coach build something as he did in north London, using younger players and adding in the stardust with the talent that he already has at his disposal.

Based on the last decade, however, that does not seem likely.

Paris Saint-Germain have been crowned Ligue 1 champions for a 10th time in their history.

Mauricio Pochettino's side went into the weekend's round of fixtures knowing they needed just a point at home to Lens on Saturday to wrap up the title.

After being booed off following an underwhelming first half, Lionel Messi found a way through for PSG with a ferocious left-footed curler into the top-left corner from outside the area.

Lens were reduced to 10 men when Kevin Danso was sent off in the 57th minute for a second yellow card, yet they responded through a late Corentin Jean goal.

However, a 1-1 draw was enough to ensure closest challengers Marseille are no longer able to catch the Parisians in first place.

PSG have now won a total of 10 Ligue 1 titles, making them the joint-most successful club in the competition's professional history alongside Saint-Etienne. They have won the league eight times since the QSI takeover in 2011.

Marseille follow closely behind with nine championships to their name in total.

Eight of PSG's triumphs have come in the last 10 seasons, with victories for Monaco in 2016-17 and Lille last year the only exceptions to their dominance. 

Lionel Messi scored a fine goal as Paris Saint-Germain sealed the Ligue 1 title despite being pegged back late on by 10-man Lens in a 1-1 draw at the Parc des Princes.

PSG went into the game knowing a point would be enough to claim a record-tying 10th Ligue 1 title and were hoping to get the job done in style on home turf.

Lens had Kevin Danso sent off in the 57th minute, and 11 minutes later Messi effectively clinched the title with a magnificent long-range goal.

Yet the title-winning moment was spoiled somewhat as slack PSG defending allowed Corentin Jean to steal in at the far post and ensure the hosts secured the trophy with a damp squib rather than a bang.

Mauricio Pochettino's men were booed off by the home fans at half-time, Seko Fofana and Danso having spurned early chances for Lens before Achraf Hakimi and Neymar went close for PSG.

PSG were improved after the break and Kylian Mbappe was denied by Jean-Louis Leca's save and Christopher Maurice Wooh's goal-line clearance from the rebound following Marco Verratti's quickly taken free-kick.

Danso paid the price for a rash challenge on Neymar on the edge of the area as he received a second yellow card. Although Leca turned Messi's subsequent free-kick behind, he could do nothing to prevent the Argentina international's thunderbolt from finding the net 10 minutes later.

It was a trademark Messi finish, his 25-yard shot lacking in perfect placement but possessing both the bend and velocity to leave Leca with no chance.

Yet the frustration that defined much of the evening returned in the 88th minute when Jean slid in to turn home Deiver Machado's ball across the face of goal and dampen the celebrations.

Paris Saint-Germain have been crowned Ligue 1 champions for a 10th time in their history.

Mauricio Pochettino's side went into the weekend's round of fixtures knowing they needed just a point at home to Lens on Saturday to wrap up the title.

After being booed off after an underwhelming first half, Lionel Messi found a way through for PSG with a ferocious left-footed curler into the top-left corner from outside the area.

Lens were reduced to 10 men when Kevin Danso was sent off in the 57th minute for a second yellow card, yet they responded through a late Corentin Jean goal.

However, a 1-1 draw was enough to ensure closest challengers Marseille are no longer able to catch the Parisians in first place.

PSG have now won a total of 10 Ligue 1 titles, making them the joint-most successful club in the competition's professional history alongside Saint-Etienne. They have won the league eight times since the QSI takeover in 2011.

Marseille follow closely behind with nine championships to their name in total.

Eight of PSG's wins have come in the last 10 seasons, with victories for Monaco in 2016-17 and Lille last year the only exceptions to their dominance. 

Rumours surrounding Kylian Mbappe's future are likely to rumble on for a couple more months yet.

For a long time, it was reported the France World Cup winner was a shoo-in to join LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

But more recently there have been rumblings he could be swayed to remain at Paris Saint-Germain, and a bumper new contract offer may be on the table.


TOP STORY – PSG READY TO OFFER MBAPPE HUGE MONEY TO HOLD OFF MADRID

Mbappe will be the hottest free agent on the market should he decide not to renew with PSG and a move to the Spanish capital still cannot be ruled out.

However, Goal reports his switch to the Santiago Bernabeu has hit a snag due to a dispute over the 23-year-old's image rights.

Meanwhile, PSG are reportedly ready to offer Mbappe an eye-watering €50million annual salary, a deal that would make him the highest paid player at the Parc des Princes, should he choose to remain in the French capital.


ROUND-UP

- Mauricio Pochettino may not be headed to Old Trafford to become Manchester United boss, but his PSG future still remains unclear. Le Parisien says Antonio Conte is tempted to leave Tottenham for the French capital.

- Declan Rice has put Manchester United and Chelsea on red alert after turning down a third contract offer from West Ham, which the Guardian said was worth £200,000 a week.

- Arsenal's continuing search for a striker has apparently led to interest in Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus. Edu, the Gunners' technical director, has been speaking to the Brazil star's representatives, according to the Athletic.

- Newcastle United are on the hunt for close-season reinforcements. Foot Mercato say Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby and Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile are both on the Magpies' radar.

Mauricio Pochettino quipped that he would like to take Kylian Mbappe "on vacation" and home with him if it ensured he will stay at Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe has just over two months remaining on his PSG contract and his future remains up in the air.

Real Madrid are reportedly confident of signing the France forward as a free agent, with Erling Haaland thought to be on his way to Manchester City rather than the Spanish capital.

Head coach Pochettino wants Mbappe to sign a long-term deal with PSG and hopes an agreement can be reached after his side have regained the Ligue 1 title, a feat they can achieve if they pick up a point against Lens on Saturday.

He told reporters: "As a coach, the situation does not bother me. You have to understand it. This does not only happen in Paris, but also in other clubs. 

"This is not the first, nor the last time that such situations arise. We have to adapt. Selfishly, I would like to keep Kylian with me, of course. 

"I would like to take him on vacation, take him home, keep him all the time. The club would like him to be able to stay here for a long time. It's a negotiation. 

"This decision is always related to different parties. It may be taken once the objective of the title is reached, once the season is over."

The Parisian giants are set to match the record of 10 Ligue 1 titles held by Saint-Etienne and Marseille.

PSG were dethroned by Lille last season and although there has been discontent from supporters after they missed out on Champions League glory once again, Pochettino says they must celebrate another domestic triumph.

The former Tottenham boss said: "You always have to value the possibility of winning a league title because when you don't win it, it becomes a big problem. 

"From my personal level, it is very important. It is also for the supporters and we hope that they will celebrate it with us, that they will agree to put the current situation on hold, knowing that the criticisms remain constructive and that the club remains attentive to them. 

"Afterwards, the club will make the decisions that will have to be taken. I just hope that tomorrow the fans will be with us and that we can celebrate the title together."

Mauricio Pochettino insists he has "always been fully committed to my mission" at every club he has coached at amid rumours he was disappointed to miss out on the Manchester United job.

The Paris Saint-Germain boss had long-since been considered a front-runner to take over from interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who has filled in at Old Trafford since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November.

However, Ajax coach Erik ten Hag was confirmed as the latest man to try and restore the good times at United, with the Dutchman taking over on a three-year deal from next season.

Reports in the British press suggest Pochettino was caught off guard by United's decision, with the Argentinian said to have been researching Manchester as a city to live.

Speaking prior to PSG's clash with Lens on Saturday, a game in which even a point would mathematically clinch the title, Pochettino was adamant he is committed to his role at Parc des Princes.

"All the rumours that have come out this year and throughout my career have never bothered me," he said.

"I never commented on them. I coached Espanyol, Southampton, Tottenham, today PSG, and I have always been fully committed to my mission. 

"I work the same way by being focused on the objectives. If I paid attention to all the rumours, life would be different."

 

United's decision to overlook Pochettino means the former Tottenham boss' future remains unclear.

PSG are cantering towards the Ligue 1 title but were knocked out of the Champions League in a dramatic last-16 tie by Real Madrid.

Tic tac, tic tac, as it goes in the Spanish media. Real Madrid's courting of Kylian Mbappe has long avoided subtlety and discretion, but he remains their primary target.

The Paris Saint-Germain attacker has just about become the world's best footballer in the meantime, contributing an extraordinary 33 goals and 18 assists in 41 appearances across all competitions this term.

A move to the Spanish capital at the end of the season remains a possibility, and reports suggest Real Madrid will go all out to make it happen.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE REMAINS MADRID'S PRIMARY TARGET

Real Madrid are confident they will sign Kylian Mbappe amid the increasing likelihood of Erling Haaland joining Manchester City, according to the Daily Mail.

With the end of the season and the subsequent expiration of the 23-year-old's contract nearing, Madrid and Mbappe have yet to sign a pre-contractual agreement as a means of not disrespecting PSG.

While the club are playing the waiting game, they remain confident for the sole fact a new deal with PSG has not yet been signed and confirmed.

Mbappe has reportedly remained the club's first preference despite interest in Haaland, who appears set to join Manchester City.

ROUND-UP

 Anthony Martial appears set to return to Manchester United with Sevilla not interested in making his loan deal permanent, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Dejan Kulusevski will join Tottenham from Juventus on a permanent basis despite another season left on his 18-month loan, reports the Evening Standard.

– According to Tuttosport, Spurs director of football Fabio Paratici has also identified Torino defensive pair Gleison Bremer and Wilfried Singo as potential targets.

Real Madrid are also keen on signing Jude Bellingham but Borussia Dortmund are intent on keeping the 18-year-old and are prepared to increase his standing at the club, Bild is reporting.

Mauricio Pochettino declared himself 'satisfied' with PSG's win over Angers despite victory for Marseille delaying their coronation as Ligue 1 champions.

The Paris club needed to better their title rivals' result on Wednesday to clinch a 10th championship, and held up their end of the bargain as goals from Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Ramos and Marquinhos secured a 3-0 win.

However, Marseille twice overturned Nantes leads in their game to secure three points and take the title race into the weekend.

Not that Pochettino was too disappointed, the Argentine saying: "Winning the championship as soon as possible is the best possible [outcome].

"It's not possible at the moment, but we had a good game and took the three points. That is most important. 

"It's never easy, but I think it's a good performance from us. I am very satisfied with my players and these three points.

"I hope we can do it all together on Saturday at the Parc des Princes."

PSG's win was somewhat soured by the controversial late dismissal of young substitute Edouard Michut following a VAR review.

Replays appeared to show that the 19-year-old had only caught Romain Thomas with a high challenge as a direct result of a foul on him from Enzo Ebosse.

Of the decision, Pochettino added: "Edouard didn't do it on purpose. I do not understand the red card even if the action was of course dangerous. 

"It really wasn't [his fault]. I am very disappointed with this and hope they can review the images and remove the card." 

Paris Saint-Germain earned a comfortable 3-0 win at Angers but were unable to start their Ligue 1 title party after Marseille defeated Nantes.

With their title rivals losing, and Kylian Mbappe and Sergio Ramos having got on the scoresheet, Mauricio Pochettino's men looked to be heading for a 10th championship at half-time.

But, while they extended their lead in the second period thanks to Marquinhos, they were ultimately denied the title thanks to a Marseille comeback. 

Instead, PSG must wait to celebrate an eighth success in 10 seasons, even if victory on that front still looks inevitable.

The visitors were hit with an early blow when Mauro Icardi pulled up in the warm-up, forcing Pochettino to bring Eric Ebimbe into his starting XI.

Angers looked ready to capitalise when Sofiane Boufal tested Keylor Navas from distance before passing a one-on-one chance wide of the post. 

Unfortunately, the former Southampton man lasted just 14 minutes before succumbing to injury, and PSG underlined their threat when Thilo Kehrer and Marquinhos both went close from Angel Di Maria corners.

That pressure ultimately told, with Mbappe making the breakthrough before the half-hour mark courtesy of a swift exchange of passes with Achraf Hakimi and a left-footed piledriver.

That meant PSG moved onto 11 goals scored from outside the box this season, and that Angers had conceded 10 – Ligue 1's best and worst records respectively. 

But the hosts almost had a long-distance goal of their own to treasure soon after, Mohamed-Ali Cho striking the post with a curler. 

Their failure to take that chance was punished before the break, however, Ramos heading home yet another delicious Di Maria cross from the left.

Unbeaten in their last 23 Ligue 1 games when leading at half-time (W22, D1), PSG showed no signs that an unexpected collapse might be on the cards after the restart.

They instead looked likelier to extend their lead, with Hakimi being denied after sneaking in behind early doors, while Mbappe forced a fine save with another powerful left-footer from inside the box soon after.

Hopes of an Angers fight-back were further extinguished when a penalty was overturned after a VAR review showed Kehrer making a clean challenge on Cho in the box. 

That ensured that, despite the loss of substitute Edouard Michu to a late and perhaps unfortunate red card, PSG had little trouble in seeing out a straightforward win that moves them a step closer to the Ligue 1 trophy.

Lionel Messi will be absent when Paris Saint-Germain attempt to wrap up the Ligue 1 title during Wednesday's trip to Angers, Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed.

Messi, who has recorded eight goals and 13 assists in 29 games since moving to the French capital last summer, is receiving treatment for inflammation in his left achilles tendon, and will sit out PSG's potentially decisive match.

Pochettino's men will seal the 10th Ligue 1 title in the club's history by bettering Marseille's result against Nantes, equalling St Etienne as the competition's most successful club.

However, having already lost Neymar to suspension, Pochettino confirmed Messi is among several players who will miss the match, potentially handing an opportunity to some of PSG's younger players.

"Some players like Leo Messi, Marco Verratti and Presnel Kimpembe will be missing tomorrow because they are still undergoing treatment," Pochettino said. "Neymar will be suspended. 

"It will be an opportunity for the players who don't play much to get some game time and it will allow the youngsters to gain experience.

"Players such as Xavi Simons and Edouard Michut, they have been gaining experience. They are the ones who could really play a key role in the club's future."

PSG beat Marseille 2-1 last time out to inch closer to regaining the French crown, and are seeking to confirm top spot by recording a 12th consecutive league win over Angers.

 

Despite boasting a 15-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit with just six games remaining, Pochettino refuted suggestions that PSG's dominance of the competition would mean they struggled to motivate themselves on Wednesday, saying their aim was to seal the title "as soon as possible".

"This match will be important because it could allow us to win a 10th title if we win," he added. "The goal is to continue the momentum from our last few games. We've had a string of successes and we want to continue that momentum.

"For the moment, the title is not secured yet, we are focused on the trip to Angers and on winning. The sooner the better. Personally, it would be an immense joy to win this 10th French championship title for Paris Saint-Germain. 

"Motivation is always there because it is necessary to win. We have to respect football and our opponents until the last day because that is the best way to perform well. We hope to win the title as soon as possible!"

Despite the attacking trio of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, and Messi scoring each of PSG's last 13 league goals, the latter two have been jeered by their own supporters in recent weeks after the team fell to a humiliating Champions League last-16 collapse against Real Madrid.

While Pochettino respected the right of PSG's fans to have an opinion on the state of the team, he emphasised his hope that supporters would come together to celebrate their title when it is confirmed.

"Everyone has the right to have their say," Pochettino added. "[But] I hope that we can celebrate a 10th title in the club's history together, it's important. For the future, I hope there will be a good relationship, it is crucial for any club that aspires to win all the trophies."

Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino and centre back Marquinhos have criticised the home fans at Parc des Princes for their lack of support in Sunday's 2-1 Classique victory against Marseille.

All three goals came in an action-packed first half, with Neymar breaking the deadlock in the 12th minute, before Duje Caleta-Car equalised when he forced home a corner from Dimitri Payet nearly 20 minutes later.

On the stroke of half-time, PSG were awarded a questionable penalty after a hopeful Neymar ball was deflected into the elbow of a Marseille defender, with VAR awarding Kylian Mbappe the penalty to head into the sheds leading 2-1.

The second half was largely controlled by Marseille, with over 60 per cent possession, and they thought they had equalised in the 85th minute when William Saliba got on the end of a Payet free kick, but VAR ruled it out for offside.

With the win, PSG are now 15 points clear of second-placed Marseille with six games remaining, but Pochettino said the support from the crowd did not feel like they were a team cruising to a league title.

"We are still waiting for the supporters to be able to expend the energy to support us," he said.

"They show their disappointment – and as I always say, there is freedom of expression, it is their way of expressing themselves, and we have to respect it. But we would like to always have the support of the supporters.

"Winning a 10th title in the history of the club is not trivial, and we would like to [enjoy the] experience with them."

It is reported that the club's main supporter group, Virage Auteuil, are continuing to protest the lack of changes at a boardroom and management level after a disappointing Champions League exit against Real Madrid, but Marquinhos said it still caught him by surprise.

"I wasn’t expecting it. It wasn’t the right time to do that," he said.

"I understand if they haven’t gotten a response, [but] they should have put their pride to one side. As a player, I don’t agree with it."

A Classique by name but certainly not by nature, Paris Saint-Germain took a step closer to the inevitable eighth Ligue 1 title of the QSI era thanks to goals from Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Predictably, Lionel Messi's name did not feature on the scoresheet. Predictably, Neymar's name found its way into the referee's book after a foul followed by a tantrum.

These games are not always predictable of course. Few saw the five stoppage-time red cards coming when these teams last met at the Parc des Princes in Ligue 1, back in September 2020.

All hell broke loose on that occasion when the game's simmering tension reached boiling point. Accusations were flung this way and that, with the red-carded Neymar at the centre of many of them. Marseille won that game 1-0, doling out another painful blow to a PSG side who had lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich just three weeks earlier.

PSG ridiculously failed to win Ligue 1 last season, an embarrassment considering the riches of their talent pool, but the trophy – L'Hexagoal – is heading back to the capital, and Sunday's 2-1 win over Marseille put the Parisian club 15 points clear with six rounds of games to play.

They could wrap up the title in midweek, but what would it really mean? Will it save Mauricio Pochettino's job? Probably not. Will it be the determining factor in whether Mbappe signs a new deal or heads to Madrid? Probably not. Will the PSG fans celebrate it with any great gusto? No, probably not, given many are apparently pig-sick of the club's leadership.

The Ligue 1 title has been reduced to a matter of interest only when PSG do not win it, given it should be a formality each season. And so on they plod, this gaggle of megastars and their various chums.

 

It is not quite the 'Zidanes and Pavons' policy of Real Madrid's Galacticos late period, but PSG are similarly top-heavy. While that Madrid side struggled at times in the league, they could put it together in the Champions League, the competition that remains out of reach for this PSG incarnation.

Was this Pochettino's final Classique? There are no assurances forthcoming over his future. If it is, he has nudged PSG ahead of Marseille on the all-time record between the teams in Ligue 1. This was a 33rd victory in the series, with Marseille having won 32 times and 20 of the league games having been drawn.

So one-sided has this rivalry become, however, that PSG have only lost one of the last 20 such league tussles between the sides (W15 D4).

That's a rivalry, only in the sense that Serena Williams versus Maria Sharapova was a rivalry on the tennis court. Williams lost two of their first three matches, then won the next 19 before Sharapova retired, barring one walk-over.

Sunday's encounter was certainly not a walk-over for PSG, as Marseille made a match of this Classique at times, recovering from Neymar's early strike to draw level through Duje Caleta-Car, with Gianluigi Donnarumma adding to his bloopers file as he failed to gather Dimitri Payet's corner. 

Neymar had a free-kick well saved by Pau Lopez, Messi had a couple of goals ruled out for offside calls, Mbappe smashed home a penalty after Neymar's shot was handled. William Saliba was denied a late Marseille equaliser after a VAR review showed he was narrowly offside. PSG actually finished this game having seen just 42 per cent of the ball, their lowest total in a Ligue 1 game since February 2013, also against Marseille.

And of course Neymar flapped indignantly after being booked for fouling Matteo Guendouzi. Just for a moment the combustible Brazilian looked to be risking a second yellow with his protests.

PSG can be fun to watch when they lose the plot, or when they attempt defending, but the joy that should be gleaned from seeing Neymar, Messi and Mbappe together is tempered by the sense of formality about all of this.

 

Almost 30 years have passed since it was Marseille's ownership that had critics up in arms, during the scandal-hit Bernard Tapie era, when it was OM who had the biggest stars.

In 1993, the year Marseille won the Champions League, Alen Boksic, Rudi Voller and Abedi Pele complemented a rich French contingent that included Basile Boli, Fabien Barthez, Marcel Desailly and Didier Deschamps.

The PSG of that era had stars too – David Ginola, George Weah and Valdo among them – and the great rivalry was ostensibly born, but the modern-day Marseille are no competition on a man-for-man basis with the current Parisian legion of luminaries.

Tycoon Tapie's substantial wealth and Marseille's financial clout had nothing on the Qatar Sports Investments money muscle behind PSG, though.

French football has been dealt the derogatory tag of a "farmer's league", a title bestowed due to a perceived lack of competition. And when the joie de vivre has been sucked out of even Le Classique, where does the game go from here?

Paris Saint-Germain came out on top 2-1 in a tight tussle with Marseille in Sunday's Classique, with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe securing the bragging rights.

All three goals were scored before half-time in a match that was far from classic between Ligue 1's top two teams.

Duje Caleta-Car had cancelled out Neymar's opener, before Mbappe struck from the penalty spot to restore parity, with Marseille having what they thought was an equaliser disallowed by VAR late on.

The win maintains PSG's strong form after Mauricio Pochettino’s side won their previous two fixtures 5-1 and 6-1, and moves them closer to putting the finishing touches on regaining the Ligue 1 title.

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