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13 Oct, 2022 13:56

PSG hired troll army to smear critics – media

The French football giants have been accused of unleashing social media trolls against their own players
PSG hired troll army to smear critics – media

French team Paris Saint-Germain have been accused of using fake social media accounts to attack several of their own players online, according to reports.

Star striker Kylian Mbappe is said to be among several prominent personalities associated with the club to have been the victims of online abuse, which French outlet Mediapart claims was orchestrated by figures within the Ligue 1 champions who allegedly employed an external social media agency to target players when there were internal disagreements within the club.

Mediapart also alleged that it was the target of PSG-employed trolls, in addition to other players and even directors from rival French teams.

The report cites one such incident in early 2019 when Mbappe intimated that he may consider leaving PSG, after which he received a message from an account called ‘Paname Squad’.

The Parisian supporters love you very much, you know that,” it wrote.

“You got your message across tonight...if you could press like that on the pitch.”

Another came several months later when Mbappe distanced himself in the media from a transfer to La Liga giants Real Madrid.

Now, work in silence and be discreet,” the same account stated. “No need for too many declarations. We need a response on the pitch.”

Paris Saint-Germain, though, have distanced themselves from the allegations, telling Mediapart in a statement: “The club has never contracted an agency to harm individuals or institutions.”

The club added in subsequent comments to RMC Sport: “Do you really think we hire people to troll our own players? It's absolutely nothing to do with the club.

We spent the last year renewing Mbappe with the biggest contract in world sport and involving President Macron, and you think that at the same time we were trolling him?

The allegations against PSG come just days after reports resurfaced that Mbappe has once again informed the club of his desire to transfer to longtime suitors Real Madrid – months after signing a mammoth new contract with the Parisian club. 

Further reports indicate that Mbappe is unhappy with the club's transfer strategy and the tactics used by coach Christophe Galtier.

The 23-year-old World Cup winner is also understood to have complained about difficulties playing alongside forward partners Lionel Messi and Neymar, and told the club that he prefers to play with a taller target man such as national team striker Olivier Giroud.

However, it is currently considered unlikely that Real Madrid would consider renewing their interest in Mbappe, at least in the short term, after falling short in their efforts to persuade the French international to join them this past summer.

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