It was a night that sent shockwaves across the continent as Barcelona masterminded the most unlikeliest of comebacks in the 2016/17 Champions League against PSG.
‘Unlikely’ is the key word here, as it remains the largest comeback in the competition’s history. With the Camp Nou packed to the rafters in March 2017, Luis Enrique’s side overturned a four-goal deficit in the last 16 first leg against the Parisians to win 6-5 on aggregate in the return fixture.
Barca found themselves 3-0 up after 50 minutes, but an Edinson Cavani finish on the hour mark silenced the Catalan crowd and seemed to pacify hopes of a turnaround. That is, until a late Neymar-inspired comeback produced the unthinkable and etched Barca’s name in the history books as they went on to win 6-1.
A three-minute brace in the dying embers renewed hope for Barca, before Sergi Roberto scored one of modern football’s most iconic goals in the 95th minute, sending 90-odd thousand fans barmy and completing “La Remontada”, a phrase that has since become ubiquitous in football vernacular.
In response, PSG moved heaven and earth to sign their nemesis from that night, Neymar, just five months later. A fire sale ensued to facilitate the Brazilian’s behemoth transfer. So, where are the players from that 2017/18 scattergun sale now?
Current club: Tottenham
Sold for/to: £23m to Tottenham
La Remontada stat: Lucas Moura had the lowest pass percentage of any outfield starter that night (50%).
As the 2017 summer window heralded the start of the Neymar-Mbappe era in Paris, Lucas Moura fell down the pecking order and found himself on the periphery of Unai Emery’s plans. As such, Mauricio Pochettino offered him an escape hatch and made the Brazilian a deadline-day signing in the winter window. He remains a Spurs player to this day, of course.
The 28-year-old was a passenger in La Remontada, registering just 30 touches (the second-lowest of any starter that night) before coming off shortly after the break for Angel Di Maria. He has since avenged that night and orchestrated his own personal ‘Remontada’, scoring a 96th-minute winner in Amsterdam to send Spurs to the 2018/19 Champions League final, which completed his hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Ajax.
Current club: Inter Miami
Sold for/to: £27.8m to Juventus
La Remontada stat: Blaise Matuidi was dribbled past more times than any player that night (three).
“It was one of the worst times in my life,” were the words of Matuidi in the aftermath of La Remontada. “How is it possible to lose like that? I still wonder.”
After leaving Paris, the Frenchman went on to win three straight Serie A titles with Juventus. PSG remedied his departure with the free transfer of then 32-year-old Lassana Diarra. They could hardly splurge on a new central midfielder when the entire transfer kitty went on Neymar, could they?
Current club: Tottenham
Sold for/to: £23m to Tottenham
La Remontada stat: Serge Aurier came on in the 75th minute and made only two accurate passes at an overall pass success rate of 40%.
With Emery looking to close the game out and avoid a late disaster he replaced attacking midfielder Julian Draxler for right-back Serge Aurier, a gambit from ‘Big Sam’s playbook’ almost. The Spaniard was simply inviting pressure with that tactical miscalculation as Barca threw the kitchen sink at them.
Within 15 minutes (plus stoppage time) of Aurier’s introduction, PSG went from 5-3 up on aggregate to elimination. The Ivorian would subsequently leave that summer as Dani Alves came in on a free (another thrifty replacement) and he has since blown hot and cold in north London, but seems to have found a stable home in Jose Mourinho’s defence of late.
Current club: Nantes
Sold for/to: £14m to RB Leipzig
Back-up to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cavani during his formative years in Paris, Augustin sought more first-team opportunities with a move to RB Leipzig in 2017. His maiden campaign yielded 12 goals and six assists in all competitions as he competed with Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen for a starting berth.
However, Augustin failed to follow up from that impressive debut season, and eventually found his way to West Yorkshire last term, joining Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds in the January window with an option to buy. But, the Frenchman racked up just 49 minutes of action before returning to Germany.
Leipzig have since threatened to take legal action against Leeds as a clause in the deal stipulated that the club had an obligation to buy Augustin for £17.7m if promotion was sealed. Leeds argue that they bypassed the obligation because the date in the contract (30 June, or “end of a season”) did not match up with the actual date of their promotion, 17 July, due to the extension of the season. The legal dispute remains ongoing, but in the meantime Augustin has made his way to Nantes.
Current club: Bordeaux
Sold for/to: £4m to Bordeaux
A product of PSG’s academy, the club turned a nifty profit on Sabaly, who failed to make a single appearance for the Parisians. The right-back spent the ‘Remontada’ season on loan at Bordeaux and made his deal permanent in the summer, where he remains to this day and has featured over 100 times.
Current club: Torino
Sold for/to: Free transfer to Torino
A mainstay for four seasons between the Parisian sticks, winning the Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year award twice (2012/13 and 2013/14), Sirigu spent 2016/17 on loan at Sevilla and later Osasuna before leaving for Torino on a free transfer that summer. A man once dubbed the ‘heir-apparent’ to Gianluigi Buffon as Italy’s first-choice goalkeeper has since been a near ever-present for the Turin club following his move, and an ever-present this season.
Current club: Lille
Loaned to: Montpellier
A poor decision in hindsight. Ikone spent 2017/18 on loan at Montpellier and has since signed permanently with Lille, where he has established himself as a fully-fledged France international and a key component of the club’s exceptional runners-up finish in 2018/19. He was even reportedly earmarked by Borussia Dortmund as the ideal replacement for Jadon Sancho in the summer if Man Utd landed the England winger. And BVB aren’t a bad judge of talent.
Current club: Celtic
Loaned to: Celtic
Before he established himself as a goalscoring fiend at Parkhead, Edouard first tested the waters in Glasgow. Signed on a temporary basis initially, Edouard has proven the perfect successor to Moussa Dembele’s Celtic throne (another PSG academy product), and is consistently linked with a move to the Premier League. We are just a few weeks away before the rumour mill fires up again and headlines such as ‘West Ham line up swoop for Celtic marksman’ emerge.
Current club: Free agent
Loaned to: Stoke
The Spaniard never really settled in Staffordshire, making just 13 appearances as the Potters suffered relegation from the Premier League. Since then he has spent further time away from PSG, with loan spells at Real Betis and Sporting Lisbon before having his contract terminated at the Parc des Princes by mutual consent earlier this month.
Current club: Lokomotiv Moscow
Loaned to: West Brom
La Remontada stat: Grzegorz Krychowiak came on in the 93rd minute and didn’t have a single touch of the ball.
Jese was not the only player in the ‘Remontada’ cull to suffer Premier League relegation the following year. When West Brom lured Krychowiak to the Hawthorns it looked a masterstroke, but a combination of bad form and inconsistencies in the dugout ultimately cost the Baggies their top-flight status.
Krychowiak will always be remembered for refusing to shake then-manager Alan Pardew’s hand when substituted off in a 4-1 defeat to Leicester. The Poland international later apologised but Pardew still hit him with a hefty £100,000 fine for the incident.
“Sometimes an apology is not enough so I have fined him,” Pardew said at the time. “I also said I don’t ever want to see it again.” Well, Pardew didn’t have to worry about that, as he was out of the door two weeks later.
Current club: Valencia
Loaned to: Valencia
In PSG’s obsessive pursuit for European dominance they’ve looked to mop up the best young talent across the continent in recent years, and when they signed Guedes from Benfica in 2017 (outbidding Man Utd in the process) they thought they had the next Cristiano Ronaldo. Alas, the Portuguese ace failed to kick on and has since joined the utter merry-go-round madness that’s unfolding at Valencia.
Current club: Partizan
Loaned to: Utrecht
Part of the PSG side before the petrodollars came pouring in, Bahebeck was a highly-rated youngster who once drew links to Premier League giants Chelsea, but he was unable to live up to the hype and has since moved to Utrecht in the Netherlands and Partizan in Serbia.
That season was Maxwell’s final before he bowed out, hanging up his boots after a trophy-spangled 17 years on the pitch, during which time he won a Champions League with Barcelona and league titles in Spain, France, Italy and the Netherlands.