Skipper Silva a symbol of PSG's failure

Andy SCOTT
Barcelona's forward Neymar (C) greets Paris Saint-Germain's defender Thiago Silva (R) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 8, 2017

There may not have been the dramatic tears this time but there was a familiar feeling of agony for Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva on Wednesday as his side suffered their absurd Champions League humiliation.

Silva was derided for letting his emotions get the better of him as he captained Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, images of him in tears after a penalty shoot-out win over Chile seen as evidence of a mentally weak side.

That team, of course, ultimately lost 7-1 to Germany in the semi-finals.

As it happened, Silva did not play in that game due to suspension, but he was there wearing the armband as PSG succumbed 6-1 to Barcelona, the second most remarkable implosion in recent footballing memory seeing the French side lose 6-5 on aggregate.

"It is difficult to talk. As captain, I am very proud of my players. But nothing worked out. That is the truth. It is a defeat that hurts," Silva said after the game at the Camp Nou.

It is unfair to single out one player in PSG's train-wreck of an evening, but as captain Silva has to take his share of the responsibility.

The 32-year-old has often been hailed as the best player in the world in his position but whether he should be captaining some of the planet's leading sides is open to debate.

After 2014, Dunga replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari as Brazil coach and went on to axe Silva.

In Paris, he has worn the armband for a team whose performances in the Champions League still do not match their ambitions -- four successive quarter-final exits and now elimination in the last 16 in spectacular fashion.

Unai Emery's side failed to make the most of their stunning 4-0 win in the first leg, when Silva was absent. The official line was that the former AC Milan man was suffering from a calf problem, but some have questioned that.

"It is difficult to say if he was injured. Nothing much showed up in the tests. It is as though he became paralysed as the game approached," one source told sports daily L'Equipe after the first leg.

- 'Not a leader' -

On Wednesday, he was back alongside compatriot Marquinhos in the heart of the Paris defence, with youngster Presnel Kimpembe making way, but to Le Figaro Silva was "a leader out of his depth".

"For a long time I have said he is not my cup of tea because he is not a leader. He doesn't bring the best out of his teammates and doesn't stand out in difficult moments," former PSG and France defender Dominique Bathenay told L'Equipe.

It now remains to be seen how Silva and PSG will recover from such a defeat, the club's heaviest reverse in 20 years.

They are still alive in all three domestic competitions going into Sunday's trip to Ligue 1's bottom club Lorient, although they trail league leaders Monaco by three points.

Emery, himself now under enormous pressure, will make changes and Marco Verratti is suspended.

As for Monaco, the principality club will be aiming to turn around a 5-3 first-leg deficit when they host Manchester City in the return of their Champions League last-16 tie next Wednesday.

Before that, Leonardo Jardim's side entertain European chasers Bordeaux on Saturday, while Nice -- still in the title hunt and unbeaten at home this season -- welcome Caen on Friday.

That match was brought forward to avoid a clash with the conclusion of the Paris-Nice cycle race.

Fixtures

Friday

Nice v Caen (1800 GMT), Marseille v Angers (1945 GMT)

Saturday

Monaco v Bordeaux (1545 GMT), Guingamp v Bastia, Montpellier v Nantes, Nancy v Lille, Rennes v Dijon (all 1900 GMT)

Sunday

Saint-Etienne v Metz (1400 GMT), Lyon v Toulouse (1600 GMT), Lorient v Paris Saint-Germain (2000 GMT)