PSG-Angers (2-1): Bernat, a touching return after more than a year of absence

It is 10:16 pm when Juan Bernat is called upon to return to the Parisian bench to change. This time, it’s the moment, the moment, the one that the Spanish international has been waiting for nearly 13 months, and his cruciate ligament rupture against Metz (1-0), in the same enclosure of the Parc des Princes. He does not know it yet, but the reception he receives from the supporters will be monumental, almost filled with emotion not concealed in the eyes.

The former Bavarian takes off his top, takes instructions from assistant Jesus Perez, then claps the hand of his coach Mauricio Pochettino. A final hug with Georginio Wijnaldum, who accompanies him to the edge of the field, and here he is back in the lion’s den. To the delight of the whole stadium which then began to howl when Michel Montana, the speaker, chanted his name to replace Abdou Diallo (63rd).

He didn’t seem to feel any pain

“Bernat, Bernat, Bernat” repeated the Parisian public for several seconds. The 28-year-old did not remain indifferent to this welcome. With a discreet wave of his hand, he greeted the various stands before replacing his wick, and entering fully into his match. History will remember that when it came into play, Paris was led 1-0, and that on arrival the players from the capital won 2-1. Quite a symbol.

So, obviously, it would be a lie to say that the Ile-de-France squad pocketed the three points only thanks to him, not at all. But his return to the meadow delivers very positive signals knowing that he did not seem to feel any pain. He stood out by making some convincing climbs like the one made just three minutes after his entry, intercepted by Manceau (65th).

Defensively, he also held up, never letting himself be overwhelmed by dull Angevins over the minutes. Juan Bernat is not registered for the group stage of the Champions League, so he will not be present on Tuesday against Leipzig. However, Paris does not lack solutions to the position of left side (Mendes, Diallo, Kurzawa), which has also allowed him not to rush the return of Bernat so far. We will therefore have to wait for the trip to Marseille next Sunday, in order to see “Juanito” again. Holder this time? Not sure at all, when we know the caution advocated by the staff with his player. But this Friday already marks the end of a long nightmare for Bernat.

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