Unai Emery: VAR would have stopped Barcelona’s 2017 remontada

Unai Emery believes Paris Saint-Germain would not have lost to Barcelona in the 2016-17 Champions League if VAR had existed then.

The video technology system was only introduced to Europe’s premier club competition last season – two campaigns after PSG’s traumatic exit at the Camp Nou.

The Parisians won the home leg in the France capital 4-0 to put them in a commanding position in the Round of 16 tie, before a collapse in Catalonia.

Edinson Cavani scored an away goal for Emery’s side on the night but they conceded three goals in the closing minutes of the game, meaning that the Blaugrana triumphed 6-1 in the most dramatic of circumstances.

However, the tie was filled with controversial officiating decisions which left the French giants fuming and lamenting a series of unfortunate events for them.

“I won Ligue 1, and four domestic cups, as well as two Trophee des Champions titles,” Emery told France Football, as translated by ESPN.

“Our ultimate objective was the Champions League, and in the first year (2016-17), against Barcelona in the round of 16, we produced a very impressive first leg performance.

“In the second leg, we were eliminated because VAR did not yet exist. We were clearly eliminated by refereeing decisions.”

Emery – who has been out of work since December when he was sacked by Arsenal – also described his role in persuading Neymar to join PSG in the summer of 2017 from the Catalan club.

“I always felt supported by President Nasser [Al-Khelaifi],” said Emery.

“For example, when we were on the verge of signing Neymar, it was up to me to personally explain to him that we were going to build the team around him.

“With such a phenomenal player, you cannot say that you already have a team in place and that he must adapt — you have to make the team for him. If you do not, then he will not come — that is certain.

“The president and the board spoke about the contract. However, it is up to the Coach to convince about the on-pitch project.”

Tags Unai Emery