Paris Saint-Germain are facing a right-back crisis ahead of their Champions League round of 16 first-leg tie against Chelsea on 16 February thanks to the aftermath of Serge Aurier's Periscope meltdown at the weekend. The Ivory Coast international was indefinitely suspended on Sunday (14 February) after using a homophobic slur to describe manager Laurent Blanc and criticising teammates Angel di Maria, Gregory van der Wiel and Salvatore Sirigu during a discussion with supporters.
Former Toulouse defender Aurier, who had established himself as a first-team regular at the Parc des Princes after agreeing a permanent four-year deal in 2015 following a successful loan spell, has now issued an apology in which he admits making a "big mistake", adding that he was ready to accept any sanctions imposed by the club.
The 23-year-old will not be considered for the squad to face Chelsea, however, leaving Blanc to choose between Marquinhos and Van der Wiel as his replacement. Captain Thiago Silva was one of several key players rested for the goalless draw at home to Lille on 13 February, although he is expected to return and partner former Blues defender David Luiz at the back.
Blanc failed to elaborate further on that "mystery doubt", though he did confirm Marco Verratti would play against Chelsea. The Italian midfielder, who recently signed a contract extension to keep him at PSG until 2020, has been bothered by a groin injury of late and is not thought to be fit enough to feature for the full 90 minutes.
Unsurprisingly after such a controversial and disruptive episode, Blanc was asked for his views on Aurier's comments. As reported by Press Association Sport, he said: "How did I react? Very badly. This is a democracy, we are free to think what we think, we can have our own opinions.
"[But] that guy, that boy... two years ago I committed myself to make him come to Paris and I think what I saw yesterday that's all the thanks I get. I think that's pitiful. I won't say more, because we're here to talk about the Chelsea game.
"He's a boy that should be preparing today for a last-16 game of the Champions League. That would've been better instead of staying at home not knowing what to do.
"The player is a big boy, he can do what he wants, but he's penalising the club through the image he gives and what he said. If he's got a problem with me, I won't use you journalists to handle the problem. That's for sure."