Paris Saint-Germain took the next step in their quest for European domination by announcing Carlo Ancelotti as their new coach on Friday.
Having secured Qatari backing and spent 82 million euros (US$106 million) on players, PSG’s next objective was to recruit a coach of world renown, who would help attract star players to the club.
Ancelotti, the former Chelsea, AC Milan and Juventus manager, replaced Antoine Kombouare, who left his job earlier on Friday even though PSG lead the French standings at the halfway stage of the season.
“I think I can do a great job to help PSG become a big club in Europe,” Ancelotti said. “We have a lot of ambition. We want to win the title and take part in the Champions League next season. We want to make this club bigger than it is today, do the best we can in France and in Europe. We want to stay at the top in France and improve certain things.”
PSG have not played in the Champions League since 2004, but was a semi-finalist in the competition in 1995 and won the now defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup the following year.
Ancelotti’s appointment on a two-and-a-half year contract had been expected since the club’s sporting director, Leonardo, met with the 52-year-old Italian in Paris in November.
“I’m here to bring my knowledge, I will observe the behavior of the players and I will add some touches if necessary,” Ancelotti said. “I want good organization, a strong attack, a good defense. We will look to play attacking football.”
Ancelotti led Milan to the Champions League title in 2003 and 2007, and guided Chelsea to the Premier League and FA Cup double two seasons ago.
“I did an honorable job with Milan and Chelsea, and I hope to do the same here,” Ancelotti said. “At one stage I never envisaged leaving Italy. When I left Italy, I wondered how things would go. I found out about a new country, the way people are. I liked it and I hope to do the same here.”
Ancelotti’s experience and success comes at a price and protracted negotiations lasted two days.
Ancelotti and Leonardo spent large parts of Wednesday and Thursday together as they dodged reporters waiting outside the Parc des Princes stadium and photographers camped outside a Parisian hotel.
Leonardo would not reveal Ancelotti’s salary, but it is likely to be much higher than any other coach has ever been paid in the French league, with local media reports estimating his annual pay to be 6 million euros.
“Ancelotti’s salary is within the market,” Leonardo said. “It’s a price that other big European clubs would be willing to pay. There’s a European market, but realizing this is new in France. I know its difficult for some to understand.”
“But what drives this club is passion, not money,” he added.
Ancelotti could be followed to the club by several big-name players this month, including former England captain David Beckham, who is weighing up a move from Los Angeles Galaxy.
The new coach would not be drawn on which players he might target with the hefty financial backing of owners Qatar Sports Investment (QSI), who took over in June. However, he did admit that he admired AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato, who is struggling to get into Milan’s team.
“I don’t know if it’s a good idea to name names right now as these are players who have a certain status in their clubs,” he said. “I didn’t come here to completely shake up the team. It’s in first place.”