When Kylian Mbappe and Neymar joined Paris Saint Germain, the goal was to win the Champions League.
After years of falling short of expectations, the pair led the League 1 side of the 2019/20 final. There they fell against Bayern Munich, but it seems to have been a sign of progress that they have even reached this stage.
The 2020/21 semi-finals drew them against another heavily backed club who failed to deliver the level expected of them in Europe. Manchester City of Pep Guardiola had their own struggles, and the Catalan coach had failed to reach a final for a decade, since his departure Barcelona.
But with Mbappe on the bench in a snowy Manchester, his teammates were unable to defeat City. Neymar was silenced, and others were unable to carry the load.
The World Cup winner was forced to sit and watch, clearly not fit enough to come and make an impact, and he barely got to warm up.
Last season, he had barely recovered from an injury before their quarter-final with Atalanta. Losing 1-0, he came off the bench late and made a huge difference, playing an important role in PSG’s late comeback to win 2-1. If he could, he could have done the same on Tuesday.
But it wasn’t and, Parisian himself, it was hard not to feel sorry for the 22-year-old. With his future at Princes Park if in doubt, he may have to take a step if he wants to finally conquer Europe.