DECRYPTION – The 28-year-old Spanish international returned to the field on Friday, against Angers (2-1), after 13 months without playing. A relief for him and one more option for PSG.
Juan Bernat, the return. Victim of an isolated rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee on September 16, 2020, at the Parc des Princes, against Metz (1-0), the 28-year-old Spanish international (11 sel., 1 goal) finally replayed Friday , during the Parisian victory over Angers (2-1). 13 months in the shape of a long tunnel. It was once believed that the former Valencia and Bayern could make his return at the end of last season, then at the start of the current financial year. It has not happened. “I am very sad, I expect a big hurt», Declared Thomas Tuchel just after the injury of« Juanito ». The former PSG coach, and current Chelsea coach, however, did not expect such a long absence and such a chaotic recovery.
No one, actually. Especially not the main person concerned, who had also been spared from physical glitches since his arrival in Paris, in 2018, after having often squatted the infirmary during his stay in Munich. It is moreover for this reason that the club of the capital had to pay only 5 M € to offer it … “I am very happy to be back in the team and to find the field“, He breathed after PSG-Angers.
And to add: “It was a big injury, there were complications, I had to be operated on three times. It was a lot of sacrifice, work, especially mental strength, I had to work alone, apart from the team, it was quite hard, but now it’s over. I am very happy to be doing what I love again, playing football.“In this case, Bernat was able to frolic for half an hour on the meadow of the Porte de Saint-Cloud, replacing Abdou Diallo in the 63rd minute of play and quickly highlighting himself, starving this long period of football fast. . Aware of the Stations of the Cross taken by number 14 in recent months, the public of the Park was not mistaken and gave it a warm welcome. “It’s good to hear the stadium sing my name“, He savored, he who extended last March for four seasons, until 2025, while his previous contract ended in June 2021.
“Key player” under Thomas Tuchel
A beautiful mark of confidence for the one Tuchel regularly showered with praise. “It’s very serious for us because he’s a key player, super important, with a lot of experience. He made extraordinary performances, not only in the big matches but especially in the big matches of the Champions League and in Ligue 1“, Said the German technician after the announcement of the diagnosis.
“Herr Tuchel” had not however seen fit to replace him, while the transfer window was still open at that time. “We have Layvin Kurzawa, Mitchel Bakker and Abdou Diallo on this post. So it’s not the priorityHe had argued. Since then, the situation has changed. Diallo and Kurzawa are still there, Bakker is gone. But faced with this absence which dragged on, Leonardo and the Parisian decision-makers decided to strengthen on the left this summer, with the young and promising Nuno Mendes. Loan with option to buy at 40 M € for the 19-year-old Portuguese international (9 sel.), Champion with Sporting at the end of the 2020-21 season.
Clearly, Juan Bernat will have to fight to regain his status as an indisputable holder in Paris. Nuno Mendes was not slow to show that he is not just a choice for the future for Paris Saint-Germain. The quadruple champion of Germany and double champion of France will already have to find all of his means, rhythm and automatisms. “When can I play an entire match? I don’t know, I don’t want to pressure myself. I have to keep working“, did he declare. And to continue: “I haven’t played for over a year, I have to find the rhythm again. I felt good during those 30 minutes. I hope as soon as possible!“
Remember that Bernat is not in the group selected for the C1. He will therefore have to be content with national games to redo the icing. “He needs playing time to regain his best level, but the Champions League does not allow testing“, Explained Mauricio Pochettino a few weeks ago, not failing to add that”it would be a big win for him and the club»By looking at the prospect of Juan Bernat’s return to the game. Here we are.
Traffic jam on the left, free field for Hakimi on the right
And it is finally also a great victory for “Poche”, which, if all goes well, will have this season of a left side (very) well stocked. This is obviously less the case on the right, where Colin Dagba, who played his first game of the season, did not really reassure Friday, against Angers. And we know that Thilo Kehrer is more comfortable in the axis, even if the German international (14 sel.) Had for a time supplanted Thomas Meunier on the right during his first season on the banks of the Seine, in 2018. -19, before his crash against Manchester United. Fortunately for Pochettino and Paris-SG, Achraf Hakimi is both efficient and reliable. Juan Bernat was also before this terrible injury. It was even “Mr. Champions League”, with his crucial goals against Naples, Liverpool or Borussia Dortmund. Will he manage to become that again?