When he arrived at Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2013, Laurent Blanc faced task that was far from easy: fill the shoes of Carlo Ancelotti, who had just won the club its first Ligue 1 title since 1994. However, with the titles he won as Bordeaux coach (Ligue 1 and the Coupe de la Ligue in 2009, the Trophée des Champions in 2008 and 2009) and after having got the France national team back on track (reaching the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, just two years after the World Cup fiasco in South Africa) under his belt, Laurent Blanc would quickly pull everything into order around him.
It was with a title, the Trophée des Champions (a 2-1 win over… Bordeaux, in Libreville), that the native of Alès began his Parisian tenure. A win that foreshadowed many more… In total, the 1998 World Cup winner has won eight titles in the space of two and a half years: Ligue 1 in 2014 and 2015, the Coupe de France in 2015, the Coupe de la Ligue in 2014 and 2015 and the Trophée des Champions in 2013, 2014 and 2015. These impressive stats make Blanc the most decorated coach in the club's history, ahead of Luis Fernandez (four titles: the Coupe de France, the Coupe de la Ligue and the Trophée des Champions in 1995, then the Cup Winners' Cup in 1996).
"When he arrived, people were asking a lot of questions about his personality and his managerial style, recalled Luis Fernandez, a former capital club player (1978-1986) and coach (1994-96, then December 2000 to 2003), of the former central defender. But he has been remarkable in his management of the team and he has really taken matters into his own hands." Carlo Ancelotti is on the same page. "He is doing an incredible job with the squad. The team has improved and has become competitive on the European stage. That's due to the work of Laurent Blanc."
Blanc has no shortage of fans among the coaches, but the players are also behind him. The explosions into the scene of Serge Aurier, Marquinhos and Adrien Rabiot, and Marco Verratti's emergence as a world-class midfield talent, are all down to Laurent Blanc. As is the installation of the team's formidable midfield trio of Verratti, Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi, the team's nerve centre since 2013. Other players have returned to their best under Blanc: Thiago Silva after a demoralising 2014 World Cup; Javier Pastore after a difficult 2013-14 bseason; Angel Di Maria after a troubled year in England; and Thiago Motta, hampered by injuries throughout season 2012-13. They all bear the stamp of Le Président!
Motta, the lynchpin in Blanc's system, has been right behind the idea of his coach signing on for two more years. "We have won a lot of titles and broken a lot of records, the Italian international told radio station RMC on Monday. We the players are happy, and we think it makes perfect sense for him to continue. He has always managed the dressing room well." With the squad behind him and numerous titles under his belt, the man voted coach of the year by France Football also boasts statistics that could make you dizzy: in his 152 official matches in all competitions in charge Paris Saint-Germain, Blanc has collected 112 wins, 27 draws and just 13 defeats!
But the biggest compliment of all comes from a long-time friend. "Given that he is going to win the Champions League, of course he will stay at the club for a long time!, beamed Antoine Kombouaré (Paris coach from 2009 to December 2011). I honestly think he will do it. I would love it if it were he who won it." The Red and Blues' fans couldn't ask for anything more!