Ancelotti handed Real Madrid job, PSG recruit Blanc


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 - Page 20

Former France coach Laurent Blanc is to take over at Paris Saint-Germain, with Carlo Ancelotti leaving the French champions to revive the fortunes of Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Last season, Ancelotti led PSG to their first Ligue 1 title since 1994, but said several weeks ago he wanted to leave the club after being linked with Madrid. After reportedly trying to lure the likes of Fabio Capello, Andre Villas-Boas, Rafael Benitez and other high-profile managers, PSG finally opted to give Blanc a two-year contract yesterday.

Blanc stepped down from his position as France manager after Euro 2012.

“The Paris Saint-Germain board has given Laurent Blanc the mission to build on last season and to continue the club’s ascendency toward the summits of the European game,” the club said in a statement, adding that the 47-year-old would take charge for the first day of pre-season training on Monday.

Blanc’s two-year tenure as national team coach began promisingly as he picked up the pieces of France’s shambolic 2010 World Cup campaign — where the players shocked a nation by going on strike — and he entered Euro 2012 on the back of a 21-match unbeaten run, but the tournament was punctuated by indiscipline among the players, a poor performance in a 2-0 defeat to Sweden in the final group game and it ended in another lackluster 2-0 defeat to eventual champions Spain in the quarter-finals.

Blanc was linked with a move to Italian club AS Roma, but that seat was recently taken by former LOSC Lille Metropole coach Rudi Garcia, leaving Blanc as the No. 1 target after PSG’s other choices fell through.

Although Blanc has been given a two-year contract, the second year is reportedly optional as the club’s hierarchy want to keep an eye on the situation at Arsenal, where Arsene Wenger has one season left to run on his contract. Wenger has long been a favorite of PSG’s cash-rich Qatari-based owners, QSI.

Ancelotti takes over at Real Madrid from Jose Mourinho, whose three-year spell in charge ended in acrimony as he failed to win a single trophy last season and fell out with the players.

The well-liked Italian is expected to rebuild the trust in the dressing room, as well as start winning trophies again. Madrid finished 15 points behind champions Barcelona last season.