Paris 4-0 Barcelona

Published at

The youngsters step up!

Three Paris Saint-Germain youth academy graduates took part in Paris' magical win against Barça (4-0) - yet another sign that the Club's youth development programme is going great guns!

Adrien Rabiot, Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku, three pure products of Paris' youth system, helped make 14 February 2017 an historic date for the club! The first two, both starters, turned in near-perfect performances and drew plaudits from the press in France and around the world on Wednesday morning.

For Adrien Rabiot, it has become a habit to shine on Champions League evenings. After his notable entry into play against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu (0-1 on 03/10/2015), his goals against Chelsea (2-1 on 09/03/2016) and Manchester City (2-2 on 06/04/2016), this gigantic performance - given a mark of 9/10 in L'Equipe! - was the logical next step in his rise to prominence. Master of the midfield, the Parisian number 25 was extremely active in winning the ball and omnipresent in the launching of offensive phases.

His performance stood out, notably for another former Paris youth academy player, Pierre Ducroc: "Rabiot was absolutely exceptional," he told L'Equipe. "I thought that, by the hour-mark, he would no longer be able to keep it up, but that wasn't the case at all. He hassled, pressed, won the ball back, got us moving forward… I can't remember his losing the ball once all night."

For Presnel Kimpembe, the other made in Paris member of the starting line-up, it was his Champions League debut! Called in to deputise for the injured Thiago Silva, Presnel turned in an immense performance. With numerous interventions of great class to deny opportunities to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, the defender - at the club since the age of ten - quickly became one of the hottest topics on social media.

Newspaper Le Parisien had this to say: "It's hard to believe that he was playing in his first Champions League match. Thiago Silva's replacement kept it simple and got everything right. He was powerful, as we saw in his tackle on Suarez (38'), and also audacious as he played out of defence. He made a big impression."

Christopher Nkunku, who came on for Marco Veratti, also seemed perfectly at ease on home turf at the Parc des Princes while fellow youth academy product Alphonse Aréola was there on the bench. That's four players from the Club's youth system on this teamsheet. Over and above its historic implications, this win symbolises the excellent work being done on a daily basis by the educators at Paris Saint-Germain's pre-youth and youth training centres!

Thomas Aïche

Related article(s)

All news