Marco Verratti and PSG: I love you, me neither

Only someone who has never been in love cannot understand the irrationality of feelings

Marco Verratti and PSG: I love you, me neither

Only someone who has never been in love cannot understand the irrationality of feelings. In the same way, only someone who has never enjoyed a football match can remain indifferent to Marco Verratti. PSG formalized its departure for the Al-Arabi club on Wednesday September 13 and turns a page in its history.

For eleven seasons, the Italian midfielder continued to divide the crowds. Great for some, overrated for others, Verratti will remain as this special player, capable of rousing the crowds at the Parc des Princes, the PSG stadium, like pulling your hair out. Arriving in the French capital at 19, from the Pescara club where he hails from, “Petit Hibou” somehow grew up at the same time as us. We saw him attempt impossible arabesques in front of his own penalty area, like a matador in the arena. We have also seen him pursue and rail against the referees, in an inimitable mix of French-Italian on the pitches of France and Europe.

Legend has it that it was Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani himself who spotted it during a youth match between France and Italy. The future Emir of Qatar and boss of PSG recruited him on July 18, 2012 for 12 million euros – a large sum for a player who had only known the Italian second division.

416 professional matches in the PSG jersey later, Verratti is part of history. He is the second most capped player at the club (behind Jean-Marc Pilorget and his 435 matches). He is also the seventh decisive passer in the club's history (56 assists, a ratio of 0.13 per match played) and the one who has won the most titles with his club (30 in total).

However, the trajectory of the Little Owl will leave a taste of unfinished business for PSG supporters and those of the beautiful game. Firstly because his statistics in front of goal are starving (11 goals in 11 seasons). But above all because he never managed to support the team to the extent of the love that was shown to him.

What worked against Marco Verratti was the disproportionate ambition of the supporters towards him. Paint him as a pillar of the midfield, capable of making others play, of offering decisive balls and scoring strikes from distance, like an Andrea Pirlo, an Andres Iniesta or a Steven Gerrard, when he was only a wonderful companion of players stronger than him on the pitch. At PSG, he was never better than alongside the tireless Blaise Matuidi and the metronome and true boss of the midfield that was Thiago Motta.

His career in the national team only corroborates this idea. He is part of the unnamed fiasco that was the elimination of Italy in the play-off match for qualification for the 2018 World Cup: during the first leg, he received a stupid yellow card which prevented him from participate in the return match. Italy will once again fail to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, this time falling to North Macedonia. In the meantime, the Italian Nazionale will have won the European Nations Championship. A competition where the Italian midfielder is not held by Petit Hibou, but where he excels alongside the transalpine playing master, Jorginho.