Wednesday March 7 2018
Has Verratti already peaked?

The years go by and Marco Verratti hasn’t matured, developed or learned, writes Daryl Hammond. Is this the best he’ll ever be?

It seems an age ago since Marco Verratti was hailed for his domineering performance against Chelsea in the Champions League. Yet that was only in 2015. Xavi had effectively crowned the Italian his heir at Barcelona, and it merely seemed a question of when he would make the move to another big club, and for how much.

Yet three years on and millions spent later, Paris Saint-Germain are in no better a place in Europe and Verratti’s development has similarly stunted.

His performance against Real Madrid typified what has been a growing trend of the ineffectiveness and ill-discipline in big games for the midfielder. Booked for a typically overzealous tackle just 20 minutes into the affair, he then earned a cheap red card for dissent to make his side's herculean task now an impossible one.

Seemingly every time these important games come around, he loses his composure and his head. Three of PSG’s last four red cards in the Champions League have been shown to the Italian.

Now 25 years old, with bounds of European and international experience, Verratti should be running games like this – especially with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos not starting.

The diminutive midfielder looked head and shoulders above the rest in the first leg against Barcelona last season, but put in an equally anaemic performance in the return leg.

In a star-studded side, it can be difficult to get your foot on the ball as much. PSG under Unai Emery now seem to rely on the talents of individuals, as opposed to cohesive offensive football. And no doubt he is not being challenged by teams every week with the same rigour as he would if he were in Italy or England. But things have hardly been better on the international scene either.

When the Azzurri played Spain in World Cup qualifying earlier, Verratti was thoroughly embarrassed by Isco in a 3-0 loss. In the play-offs against an unfancied Sweden side, he couldn’t influence the game in any way, with Giorgio Chiellini making twice as many passes. He also foolishly got himself suspended for the second leg, where creativity was in short supply for the Italians.

While many can (somewhat justifiably) point to then-manager Giampiero Ventura as the cause for fault, this microcosm of games is a valid reflection of his Italy career, one of few, if any noteworthy performances.

Verratti doesn’t have the same stock in Italy as he does in France, and poor performances for the national team have led to criticism from former players like Ciccio Graziani, who said “I don’t think he is worth even €50m.” Perhaps the real Ballon d'Or winner here is agent Mino Raiola, who continues to maintain the hype over a player who simply hasn't warranted it and earned more and more lucrative contracts.

The midfielder makes an easy target for PSG and Azzurri fans alike, but was not the only reason his side lost 5-2 over both legs. In fact, before he was dismissed, he was arguably their best performing player (which likely says more about his teammates’ performance than his).

But he must deal with this mental malaise which seems to affect him in crucial ties. Carlo Ancelotti reportedly branded the midfielder an ‘imbecile’ after he received his first red card in French Football, and Laurent Blanc didn’t see the funny side of his ill-disciplined performances either. Years on this shouldn’t be a problem for Emery, but it is.

On his day he can be a game changer, which is why he to this day still courts attention from the likes of Barcelona, but those days should have been yesterday at the Parc de Prince and three weeks ago at the Bernabeu. We know he has the talent. Whether he can fully mature to unlock that potential when it matters is another question.

Have your say...
Overrated player, Juve dodged a bullet there.
on the 11th March, 2018 at 3:17am
Verrati's style resembles A. Vidal (now FC Bayern).
The story is similar with Vidal yellowed twice by Hungarian referee in Madrit.
on the 9th March, 2018 at 10:22am
I still think that 8 is a lot. Specially when you consider the manner in which he recieved them.

As for Ambrosini and Tacchinardi getting 12, I'm pretty sure Verratti will surpass them very soon unless he improves. Remember, those players careers are done, he's still got about 10 years left.

Mr. Montero is a different kind of animal, though..
on the 8th March, 2018 at 5:23pm
the ball forward enough for a man of his ability. Too many sideways passes and why on earth has a coach not got him by the throat to stop him from keep going to ground all the time. It does not matter what part of the pitch he is, he goes to the ground to make a tackle. He hasn't peaked but he needs to be better coached. Rabiot is decent in small games or even in big games as long as his team is winning but is totally useless when needed for bailing out a struggling side. Verratti needs better.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 5:17pm
@Glasshouses 8 red cards is way too much for any player yet alone for 1 that is meant to be creative and not destructive. He is 25 and I bet most of those cards are due to dissent & misplaced tackles and not bad fouls. Verratti still acts like a child. He did play well in that game and though I agree that German ref is a jerk (he always is), he ought to know better than to react the way he did. He has not been gr8 for PSG this season as that was 1 of his better displays. he doesnt pass the
on the 8th March, 2018 at 5:10pm
I'll only agree with his disciplinary problems. Ligue 1 competitiveness? PSG don't win it as often as you'd think. Overpaid + pampered? So are most professionals especially at elite clubs Barca, Real and MU.

If he already peaked then it's plenty good considering his record. All that's left for him is consistency, discipline and maybe learn to tackle. I never rated him highly, personally, but I believe he's a great midfielder today.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 11:31am
@glass houses
Tbf, it's still a lot. And 3 came in CL, out of 4 for his club. Whichever way you want to cut it, it's still a lot and especially when he's only at the midpoint of his career.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 11:24am

you really think 8 red cards is a lot for a 25 year old xhaka has had 10 red cards it may seem a large number compared to the likes of jorginho and baselli who both have had 2 sending off each. In the current climate verratti may look a headcase but in comparison to the players of old he is clean player.

gattuso was unfairly considered a dirty player when you had ambrosini who have 12 red cards in his career montero had 21 tacchinardi had 12.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 10:07am
He will be flourish with Napoli under Sarri. I heard Sarri and ADL want to collect TINY PLAYERS as many as they can get.

on the 8th March, 2018 at 9:41am
He should go to italy and play for benevento
on the 8th March, 2018 at 6:59am
I will just echo what most have said; he needs to play in a better league and under a better coach that will utilize him in a midfield where he can click and operate freely.

But yes, he is reckless, and a terrible tackler.

@ glass houses

Well, you might think 8 red cards is not many, but someone like Gattuso only had 7 in his entire career. Verratti got 8 and he's still 25.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 5:14am
It's clear he has to leave PSG and go to a club where he needs to be disciplined to succeed. He won't learn discipline playing in a 3rd tier league where his actions are of little consequence to the result.

I thought he had a pretty good game in Madrid.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 4:46am
on the 8th March, 2018 at 3:17am
People seem to forget that Pirlo didn't come into his own until around thisage for Milan. Before that, Pirlo was trying to secure a spot on any team, and got loaned out twice while at Inter. Verratti went right from Serie B to PSG, and into their Champions league starting lineup when he was 20. He's been voted the best under 21 player in both Italy and France.Let's not be too harsh on him, as he has to play with some big ego's in Paris.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 2:03am
When you spend your top developmental years prior to your prime in a league with farmers for Midfielders and defenders, you become Marco Verratti.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 1:57am
For me he’s one of the most hyped overrated Italian players ever. Italian Media had nerve to compare him to next Pirlo,he’s the future, blah-blah....and which group is Italy in @ Russia 2018 ? He couldn’t of peaked if he has NOT done anything major yet....unless you consider his Pescara days his best. Agreed he’s a pampered player,playing on an all-$tar bought team. Let’s see what he could do at a Roma,Lazio,Inter,Or Man U,Valencia.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 12:45am
Verratti's problem is PSG is a bad club; lots of money squad changes poor leadership in an uncompetitive league. He suffers like others; Cavani was better at Napoli, Silva better at Milan, Neymar better at Barca..why.. because they were tested & had to compete. Verratti needs to move urgently, his growth is stinted. For Italy he could be useful BUT NOT AS A PIRLO TYPE REPLACEMENT!..Italy needs a new identity & system to suit our young guns -Chiesa, Cutrone, Jorghino, Insigne, Belotti etc
on the 7th March, 2018 at 11:37pm
He needs to come to Italy and grow.
on the 7th March, 2018 at 11:17pm
@Justin Leo

surely the majority of top flight players are overly pampered.

second are you serious the late 90s early 20s west ham youth graduate are for me tower above anything which england offers now. west ham alone produced defoe ferdinand carrick lampard joe cole johnson helping to produce john terry.

Thirdly it is a shame on serie a not verratti that he left the guy was supposed to be the best young Italian player around yet none of the Italian clubs made a comparable bid for him.
on the 7th March, 2018 at 8:44pm
He would be a different player if under Guardiola @City, Mourinho @MU, or Allegri @Juve.
on the 7th March, 2018 at 6:31pm
He was the best player on the pitch in the first half yesterday. Was wrongfully sent off. He needs to leave PSG, alas the way they structure contracts dictate when the club is done with a player
on the 7th March, 2018 at 6:16pm
He's in a bad league and a really bad team. He, Insigne and Berna are the real bright talents Italy have.
on the 7th March, 2018 at 4:33pm
Verratti to psg was good but he has to leave. He isn't going to grow or show his true values if he remains at a team that was only put together by spending a billion. He shows his potential but big games for psg and italy he doesn't show up. Quite the opposite of pirlo who people compared him to. He should go to a team like Barcelona or Juventus to give him that next step in his career or else he will just be another player that didn't show his true potential
on the 7th March, 2018 at 4:33pm
He played fantastically in both defensive and attacking side of the game, but yeah, he still has disciplinary problems.
on the 7th March, 2018 at 3:04pm
He can only grow if he moves to a proper league.For me I don't see the fuss.
on the 7th March, 2018 at 2:47pm
Verratti is a pampered player in the golden prison that is PSG. THE WORST THING HE COULD EVER DO WAS LEAVE ITALIA.

He is for me like the Golden Bin Generation of England of the late 90s/2000s.

He not only has a self inflated opinion of himself as he said he would not listen to a manager's instructions when in the DM role. Blanc used to tell him not to dwell on the ball in front of the defence but he would not listen.

Verratti would have matured in Italy with Juve in all ways.
on the 7th March, 2018 at 2:38pm
Before he was sent off he was PSG's best player. One midfielder isn't enough to carry a team. PSG have weaknesses all over, bar Mbappe, Marquinos and Neymar who was injured. What would Xavi be without his sidekick Iniesta, or attacking geniuses in Messi, Ronaldino, Eto, Henry, or a holding MF in Toure, Busquets. Motta and Raboit arent good enough, Cavani misses too many chances. Alves is past it now. They need better players to fit around that core of 4 - M-Savic, Lewandowski, Kante...
on the 7th March, 2018 at 2:14pm
I would say NO, Verratti has not yet peaked, but like all the other top players at PSG,the lack of a competitive envioroment,is not helping them to take their game to the next level...Would love to see Verratti back in Italy,but who could afford him???The likes of the top clubs will have to sell probably 2 top players to afford him,because obviously he is a long term investment. For the sake of the Italian national team,he needs to mature.
on the 7th March, 2018 at 2:12pm
Verratti should ease his temper in games like this, he costs his team dearly every time they need him the most. I think he is a wonderful player, maybe he would have better mentality if he came to Juve, that's where players learn how to behave, not just how to play.
on the 7th March, 2018 at 1:58pm
Di Maria made a bad pass Veratti got booked for picking up the pieces. Ronaldo kicked out at Alves and complained a lot but didnt even get booked. Zidane was straight red carded in his last game in the WC Final, was that mature? No, but he is still a legend. Anyone would have been embarrassed against Spain's 6 midfielders with a 2 man midfield. He hasn't peaked, but he would do well to leave PSG and go to Barca. The 50million talk is BS, in todays market he's worth well over 100mill.
on the 7th March, 2018 at 1:51pm

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