What Did P.S.G.’s Money Buy?

As a final scene it was so fitting that, for a second, it was possible to wonder if Kylian Mbappé had done it on purpose. He had reached the dying embers of Paris St.-Germain’s run in the Champions League. Yet again, the dream of European glory that powered the club for more than a decade had been dashed.

Suddenly, here he was, clean through on goal: the best player in the world, the hometown icon who has come to symbolize P.S.G.’s ambition, prowess, excess and hubris, his flashbulb moment at his fingertips. And then, as Dortmund’s defiant back line trailed helplessly in his blistering wake, Mbappé slipped.

No tackle, no foul, no intervention whatsoever. He just fell over. He would not have his goal. He would not be the hero. But he had, at least, provided a pitch-perfect allegory: not only for the seven years that he has spent at his hometown club, but also for the lavish, transformative and deeply flawed project he has come to represent.

Whether or not that will be Mbappé’s last act as a P.S.G. player remains to be seen; he has not started in a Ligue 1 match for more than a month. But it will certainly be his last meaningful appearance.

Kylian Mbappé won six league titles in seven seasons at P.S.G. His next trophies might come in Spain.Credit…Franck Fife/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

For all its work-in-progress, sorry-for-the-inconvenience vibes, Luis Enrique’s team wrapped up its Ligue 1 title some time ago. The next couple of weeks are mere bureaucratic necessity, a brief period of downtime before the summer’s international business. At some point, in the middle of all that, Mbappé will leave, most likely for Real Madrid, and P.S.G. will be left with nothing but memories.

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