The mother and agent of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot has accused chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi of “poisoning” the team with his treatment of her son.
Despite high expectations, PSG have endured their worst season since 2011-12 — the first of the Qatari Sports Investment era — after losing the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France finals and blowing a first leg 2-0 lead at Manchester United to lose in the Champions League round of 16 — and Veronique Rabiot has blamed the poor campaign on Al-Khelaifi.
Rabiot has been marginalised and served an internal suspension — and his mother said this treatment is having a detrimental effect on the entire squad.
“The president [Al-Khelaifi] has made a completely unfair decision and everybody knows that,” she told Agence France Presse. “By doing this, he has instilled a poison in his team, which has done its work over the past five months — Nasser has broken his own team up because he forgot about the human factor.
“When you make decisions in life, there are short, medium and long-term consequences. Failing to understand that when you are the president of a football club is to not know football, nor football players. Above all, it shows that you do not know men.”
Rabiot’s mother and agent went on to suggest that her son’s situation with PSG has impacted his teammates.
“His teammates know that Adrien is suffering, even if he says nothing — that suffering resonates,” she said. “I am not saying that it is a conscious thing, I actually think that it is totally subconscious from the other players.
“However, there is a gangrene there. Nasser has taken away their serenity — you cannot ignore it when one of the best players in your team is abused in front of your eyes.”
Manager Thomas Tuchel was asked about PSG’s hierarchy at a news conference on Monday before Tuesday’s Ligue 1 trip to Montpellier and the German made it clear that he does not have the power to shape the way that the club is run.
“I am not in a position to change the organisation of the club,” he said. “I am responsible, as coach, for the sporting side — as well as my staff. I have many things to do, so I cannot focus on the club’s organisation. It is not up to me.
“I adapt to the different scenarios. I give my best everyday to improve the squad, the team, and to create a positive atmosphere in training. That is my job — it is important that I remain focused on it.”
Tuchel also dismissed the notion that he is in danger as he waits for his recent contract extension to be made official be PSG.
“I do not believe that at all [I am in danger], but I also do not know,” he said. “We are PSG, everybody expects us to win everything.
“It does not work like that. With the goal of Champions League success, you must be careful. A club like Juventus have been trying for over 20 years now — it is not easy.
“I do not feel weakened, but I am also not naive.”