28 April 2021 - Paris Saint Germain

Quiet revolution

Paris-Saint Germain
Callista Mersini

Champions Journalist fan reporter and Paris fan Callista Mersini felt the pain of defeat last week, but sees the positives in unsung heroes…

While watching Paris Saint-Germain’s first-half lead slip to a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City, coupled with a late red card, was certainly not the desired result for us Paris fans, it wasn’t all bad news…

When the likes of Kylian Mbappé go quiet on the pitch, it’s those who tend to avoid the spotlight who stand out. And during the first leg, my attention turned to a young left-back in the Paris squad. Many football fans around the globe may not know the name of Mitchel Bakker, a 20-year-old Dutch international who is comfortably taking his place at left-back in the Parisian squad, after injuries to Juan Bernat and Layvin Kurzawa. But he is certainly making himself known within the Parisian football community.

The defender made his way through the Ajax youth academy then joined Paris Saint-Germain back in 2019. After 37 appearances this season, it seems the club have found their man at left-back. The first leg was a demonstration of his qualities both offensively and defensively, whether it was making an overlapping run for Mbappé to receive the ball or shutting off City’s Riyad Mahrez down the wing, he was consistent throughout.

In a squad bursting with undeniable talent and experience, one can forget up-and-coming players such as Bakker and Colin Dagba who contribute to the workload of the team. Yet it is these exact players who are relentless in their efforts to defend against a dangerous attack or battle to regain the ball. They are the backbone of every team, so why are they going unnoticed in the world of football?

One of the world’s most successful football coaches and players was dubbed a “water carrier”, and it safe to say that Didier Deschamps was very successful throughout his World Cup-winning career. Watch out for those water carriers, they may just be the most important players on the pitch…

Our Champions Journalist fan reporter:
Callista Mersini
Already drawn to the club’s playing style and hunger to make a splash in Europe, Callista was fully won over by Paris Saint-Germain during a trip to France and a visit to the Parc des Princes. She felt right at home among the Paris faithful and privileged to get a close-up view of Kylian Mbappé running at full speed. Defeat in the 2020 Champions League final provided a heartbreaking end to a historic season, but she is hopeful it will serve as a turning point as the club continue their chase for that first continental crown.
About Champions Journalist fan reporters: These blogs have been written by winners of our annual Champions Journalist competition as well as a selection of editors from various fan page accounts. Together they offer their unique insights from the group stages all the way to the final.
Champions Journalist
With thanks to our Champions Journalist winner
Callista Mersini
Champions Journalist is an annual competition that gives fans a chance to write about their club for Champions Journal.