x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

After long list of rejection, PSG land French manager Laurent Blanc

Former France national coach and player will be held to very high standards at Paris Saint-Germain.

France's former coach Laurent Blanc was named the new Paris Saint-Germain coach on Tuesday and agreed on a two-year contract. Robert Ghement / EPA
France's former coach Laurent Blanc was named the new Paris Saint-Germain coach on Tuesday and agreed on a two-year contract. Robert Ghement / EPA

PARIS // Paris Saint-Germain named Laurent Blanc as coach on a two-year contract on Tuesday, ending weeks of speculation over who would succeed Carlo Ancelotti.

The 47-year-old Frenchman, out of a job since departing as France coach after their Euro 2012 quarter-final exit, led Bordeaux to the French Ligue 1 title in 2009. He will begin work on Monday for the start of pre-season training.

The former France international defender replaced Ancelotti, who said last month he wanted to leave the club after leading PSG to their first French title since 1994.

Blanc, who played for Montpellier, Marseille, Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter Milan, was part of France's World Cup-winning squad in 1998 and won the last of his 97 caps in the 2000 European Championship final victory against Italy.

But he was not PSG's first choice, according to media reports.

French media said Roberto Mancini, Fabio Capello, Andre Villas-Boas, Frank Rijkaard, Manuel Pellegrini, Rafa Benitez, Michael Laudrup and Guus Hiddink were all approached by the club.

Owners Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) have spent over €200 million (Dh962m) on transfers since taking over the club two years ago, recruiting the likes of Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Brazilian defender Thiago Silva in pursuit of a Uefa Champions League crown within five years.

Blanc, whose European coaching experience is limited to two seasons with Bordeaux, will have to deal with QSI's high expectations.

"The mission Paris St Germain's management has assigned Laurent Blanc is to continue the work initiated last year and lead the team towards the European heights," the statement said.

The Frenchman, who earned the nickname "The President" during his playing days, will also have to prove he can handle a squad full of characters after failing to keep France's bad-tempered players under control at Euro 2012.

The list includes PSG forward Jeremy Menez who was banned for one game by the French Football Federation for insulting a referee.

The representatives of Brazil captain Silva and Ibrahimovic appear to have supported the appointment, saying the most respected players in PSG locker room back Blanc.

"Laurent Blanc can't be a wrong choice. He was France coach, he's equal to all the names that have been cited. They are all great coaches," Silva's agent Paulo Tonietto told French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.

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