“There are no big expectations, we really want to think about the future.” According to Nasser Al-Khelaïfi’s speech, Paris Saint-Germain is moving forward with the innocence and candor of a young team full of dreams but without pressure in the Champions League. “The C1 is a long story. We will perhaps talk about it in the future,” the Parisian president further explained in recent days, on RMC radio, believing that we must be “realistic” and that there remains “still a long way before to achieve great goals. A 180° turn in terms of discourse, while the Parisians, losers of Real Sociedad in the round of 16 (2-0, 2-1), will be decided on their fate this Friday (12 p.m.), during the draw. Paris could very well come across a scarecrow or a more affordable opponent. Big gap.

One thing is certain: “No one will want to come across PSG”, as Luis Enrique indicated on Wednesday, after qualifying for the Coupe de France semi-finals at the expense of Nice (3-1). A PSG which is making its return to the European Top 8 after two exits in the 8th in the last two years and which remains young and undoubtedly a little light in the middle, with a group largely renewed last summer and a new coach who arrived with new ideas, not to mention the Kylian Mbappé case. Although it is now quite clear that “Lucho” will spare the probable future Madrilenian in the championship but, a priori, not in C1. Not in the Coupe de France either. “The Coupe de France or the Champions League require us to present the best face of the team,” said the 53-year-old Asturian coach on Tuesday. And the “best face of the team” is therefore with Mbappé, who showed in San Sebastian that we can count on him to do the maximum in the Champions League, “a very important competition” in his eyes .

Still, Paris has the talent to have its chances in these quarter-finals. In any case, this is Luis Enrique’s ambition: “We must not imagine ourselves inferior to any other team. The beauty of football is that it is unpredictable. We don’t know who will win it. We simply want to improve,” he underlines, he who gives a speech as positive as his president before the meetings at the beginning of April, in quarters (9/10 on the outward journey, 16/17 on the return) . “We will be among the eight best teams in Europe this year but the objective is to be among the four best and to continue to be competitive,” he insists again. We must reverse this trend of negative pressure around the club. It must push us to the contrary. I want the supporters, the players, the club to have this desire, this will, this wish to be part of the four best, we will see what happens in the draw, but no fear or pressure. We have never won the Champions League, so we only have desire and ambition.

It would clearly take more than desire and ambition to dismiss the outgoing European champions of Manchester City, easy winners of the Danes of Copenhagen in the 8th round, or Real Madrid, winner of the event on 14 occasions and who Xavi Simons’ RB Leipzig has just been released. Besides, no one wants to pull Casa Blanca, but not just for sporting reasons: the Mbappé file would create palpable unease on both sides…

What about Barça and Bayern, two giants for whom the season is not going as planned and who will change coaches at the end of the campaign? Antoine Griezmann’s Atlético Madrid, defeater of Inter Milan that some imagined as favorites for the coronation, would not be a cakewalk. A real clash of cultures between cautious Colchoneros and naturally adventurous Parisians. Arsenal? No or little experience at this level of competition for the Gunners, leaders in the Premier League, but youth, talent to spare and speed. This would be the assurance of two high-level posters, pleasant in terms of play and open. The right pick would clearly be Dortmund, against whom Paris had the best in direct confrontations in the group stage. However, it was Borussia who finished at the top of the “group of death”. For once, however, the club from the French capital had a lucky hand in the draw for the 8th. Real Sociedad is a change from Chelsea, Barcelona, ​​Manchester City, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich! Especially since the Basque club is drowning in injuries and has a string of bad results at the moment.

In the meantime, Paris Saint-Germain necessarily has something to play for. The Rouge et Bleu are not among the big favorites for final victory, not in the same way as City or Real for example, but why not dream of a good run? Winner of the event in 2015 at the head of FC Barcelona, ​​Luis Enrique, who will undoubtedly need more than a year to implement his plan, calls for remaining “humble” but not being “afraid of anyone “. A speech which, combined with that of “NAK”, perhaps takes a little weight off the shoulders of the players. “We will face the team we draw. We will wait (for the draw). You will have to play in all cases. The C1 is a great competition. We are calm, we play our game,” slips Nuno Mendes.

Less pressure? Maybe, but still as much ambition. Kylian Mbappé, for example, would see himself lifting the big-eared cup before leaving, as a final gift to PSG and France of football. Lucas Hernandez, for his part, does not hide the fact that he wants to “win the three competitions” in which Paris is still in the running, Ligue 1 (1st with 10 points ahead, the ranking here), the Coupe de France (half- final against Rennes, the program here) and of course the “Champions”. We imagine that Achraf Hakimi and Ousmane Dembélé are on the same wavelength. Preparing for the future, yes. But why not run for top honors now?

Especially since it may not be the same lemonade without Mbappé next season, even if the club hopes to attract world-class players during the summer. Unlike previous years, however, an elimination would not mark the end of the beans and would not herald the usual psychodrama. Obviously, there is elimination and elimination… All that is asked of Parisians is to leave without regret, without humiliation, without cataclysm. But the excitement is there. It will be at its peak this Friday at midday, with the hope of prolonging the European spring as much as possible. To launch the “new era”, this would be a more than positive signal. In these conditions, it would perhaps be better to draw Borussia Dortmund than Manchester City or Real Madrid, that’s for sure…