Paris Saint-Germain's 2-1 win away to Napoli on Monday could prove pivotal to their fortunes this season—and not in a good way.
In the 13th minute of the friendly encounter at Stadio San Paolo, PSG captain Thiago Silva limped off the pitch after sustaining an injury to his right leg.
Having attempted a needless backheel in the defensive third, the 29-year-old immediately pulled up behind the goal line and limped uncomfortably to the visitors' bench. He was shortly replaced by fellow Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos, and over the next few minutes, the Ligue 1 side's physios worked on what appeared to be his hamstring.
Not long after, he was helped down the tunnel—his leg heavily bandaged and not bearing any weight.
Silva looks extremely angry. Suggests that he knows it is bad. Was a pointless backheel to attempt to be fair. PSG problems at CB continue.— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) August 11, 2014
Should he face an extended spell on the sidelines, Thiago Silva, by his absence, will leave a cavernous gap in the centre of the PSG defense. Widely regarded as one of the best players in the world at his position, he is arguably the capital outfit's most important player and will require some replacing.
And PSG, quite disgracefully, will be without him because they agreed to schedule a friendly match (one that saw Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi return to their old stomping ground) following the start of their own domestic campaign.
One thing PSG learned from this friendly? Never insert friendlies into transfer deals again. Potential cost too high once season starts.— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) August 11, 2014
Set up in early July and put on by Acqua Lete—Napoli's primary sponsor—Monday's showdown was always going to be a useful test for the Serie A side, especially with the Serie A season yet to begin and a Champions League date with Athletic Bilbao just over a week away.
PSG, however, had nothing to gain from it—not fitness, not form, not a meaningful look at the fringes of the squad. They could only lose, and despite winning on the scoreboard, they managed to lose in the most regrettable manner imaginable.
Curiously, despite the club's considerable financial strength, they have less depth in the centre of defense than anywhere else in the team.
Marquinhos, who arrived at Parc des Princes last summer from Roma, will most likely deputise in Thiago Silva's absence, but the overwhelming pressure will be on former Chelsea centre-back David Luiz, for whom PSG paid €50 million prior to the World Cup.
Beyond the pair, there is only 35-year-old Zoumana Camara standing between the first team and the reserves and academies. PSG may well need to address the matter in the transfer market before the end of the month.
It's a position they should never have found themselves in but one they invited upon themselves.
An injury during pre-season, when players are returning from holiday and looking to get back in a rhythm, is one thing; an injury during a friendly such as Monday's is another entirely.
PSG already looked shaky in Friday's 2-2 draw at Reims, and now with Thiago Silva hobbling off the pitch in Naples, it would seem their troubles are only mounting.