Public image in the world of football has become more important than ever, and remains a side of the sporting industry in which many tread lightly. Since arriving to the French capital in the summer of 2016, Thomas Meunier has stood out amongst the French media, for his sincerity and his eloquence when talking with the press, as well as being well-cultured, as exhibited by his passion for art.
This along with his down-to-earth attitude has made him a PSG fan favorite and delight for the media in France. However, the player who has mastered the art of communications, has found himself at the centre of a controversy amongst PSG’s most loyal following an unfortunate like of a Marseille TIFO on Twitter.
Shortly after the quick backlash, he published a statement on his twitter stating that such an act should not put into question his investment and implication for the club, and that he was as much a football fan, as he is a PSG one. On April 28th, he most notably wrote on Instagram, “My investment and passion for you [the PSG fans] is no less than 1000% percent, and liking what others may do in France should under NO CIRCUMSTANCES put into question my respect and desire to fight for the blue and red shirt.” He has since removed that response, which had left a sour taste for many.
Following PSG’s 2-2 draw away at Amiens on Friday, Thomas Meunier spoke to the press, and touched upon this controversy stating that, “Things need to be clear, I do not need to justify myself to anyone. Be it the 12 year old fans who are telling me to leave PSG or the so-called fans on twitter. This matter will be dealt with internally with those concerned, i.e. Le Collectif Ultra Parisien (one of PSG’s ultra movements), who have always been behind the PSG players. They are the only ones I am indebted to.”
A stern, yet authentic response, in which his relationship with PSG’s ultras has been solidified following advising from the player’s entourage – an important step to take following the Belgian international getting booed during PSG’s 2-2 draw against Guingamp at the Parc Des Princes on April 29th.
Reconciliation between the player and fans was done independently of the club’s intervention and authority. PSG deemed it a minor mishap and believe that the storm will blow over soon enough, even though the club privately asked that he publish an initial reaction to the events. This incident has brought up questions over the 26 year old fullback’s future, despite his contract not running out till 2020. While he and his family feel happy in Paris, he has been heavily linked to clubs in Italy and England.
o add to this, Thomas Meunier, who has never made a big fuss publicly over his playing time with the club, is known to not be fully satisfied with the amount of minutes he’s been given this season. Currently, Dani Alves is preferred over the Belgian international, despite the former not always impressing this season.
Thomas Meunier’s professionalism and discretion in regards to such matters is nothing short of exemplary considering the egos and whims of PSG’s other players, and his frustration is understandable. Dani Alves has most notably been started in all of PSG’s big games this season, which raises the question over Meunier’s future, and whether the club really does count on him and wants to reward him.