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It is a real pity that Carlo Ancelotti is on the cusp of something special this weekend and yet the uncertainty around his future is taking the gloss of it.
It is inevitable now. The Italian will be departing the club this summer for Real Madrid. It has been touted for a number of months it seems and the Italian’s words last week of; “I do not know if I will be here next season” reaffirmed that. He is undoubtedly Florentino Perez’s number one choice to succeed Jose Mourinho to try and finally end that 12-year hiatus without winning a Champions League title.
It leaves us in a predicament now of trying to find a successor. But, I would rather that the speculation regarding it would stall – at least for the time being. Of course, the club needs to work on a contingency plan for finding the Italian’s successor. No doubt Leonardo, Jean-Claude Blanc and Nasser Al-Khelaifi are doing just that but the media scrutiny has eclipsed what should be the real attention seeking story of the week and that is Paris Saint-Germain potentially becoming champions of France this Sunday. Victory over Valenciennes at the Parc would ensure that, not officially, but our superior goal difference would essentially put it to bed. However, if we better Marseille’s result in at home to Bastia it would be conclusive.
Everybody has played a part in this culmination of ending 19 years without a league title for Les Parisiens. Stretching back to the days of Antoine Kombouare who worked miracles long before QSI walked through the doors of the Parc des Princes. Players such as Nene, Mevlut Erding, Claude Makelele, Sylvain Armand, Ceara and Guillaume Hoarau have all achieved great things such as European qualification and winning a Coupe de France at the Stade de France. People tend to forget just how far this club has come in the last four years and they have been pivotal figures in achieving that.
Carlo Ancelotti is in the top-tier of that illustrious list. What he has offered and delivered at Paris Saint-Germain has been absolutely exceptional. He brought a tactical nous, winning mentality, the ability to lure big names to the club and delivering a side that is starting to be revered on the European stage. It has not been an easy road by any means, it has taken some bumps but in a general sense the loss of ‘Carletto’ is huge for the club.
When he arrived in the fall of 2011, it was met with a mix of scepticism but also an element of real excitement. Here was a world renowned coach up-taking a role at one of Ligue 1’s most iconic football clubs. It is something we have not seen too often to be honest. Not only did he bring a wealth of knowledge to the club but also his aura brought so much attention from across Europe. This is a man who has won four European Cups as both player and coach – unprecedented.
It did take him time to readjust to life in France, a good five months or so at least. But, in the makeup of a world class coach is their ability to integrate, reinvent and tinker their own philosophies. He identified the characteristics of football in Ligue 1 and has presented a strong dynamic side with plenty of pace that can hurt teams in a variety of ways. Undoubtedly his biggest success has come via a counter-attacking style orchestrated by the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore and Lucas Moura which is accompanied by an engine in the centre of midfield via Blaise Matuidi. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the focal point to all that up top as Thiago Silva commands the duties at the back. As I have said plenty of times, would Zlatan and Silva arrived in Paris without someone of Ancelotti’s ilk instructing them? I seriously doubt it. It is naive to think money did not play some part but these are world class footballers, they would not join a club if they felt the professional standards were not up to their liking.
Paris Saint-Germain are the biggest losers in this. We are relinquishing a man who has created something quite special this season. The progression made under his tenure will stand the test of time. The reason why we teeter on the cusp of a third league title is because of the ethos implemented by the gaffer. He and the club are absolutely perfect for one another so it leaves the hierarchy with a real reluctant task in finding a successor who can continue the good work.
Ancelotti is a proud man. PSG are missing out but I think the league is as well. He has conducted himself superbly, earned the respect of his fellow peers and enjoyed a good relationship with the media. Personally, it is a real disappointment for me to see him leave. I feel he has so much more to offer and we have by no means reached our potential under him. But, the lure of managing the world’s biggest football club in Real Madrid is something we cannot begrudge him. If anyone is going to deliver them a European Cup, it is Carletto. I just wished he could have done it with us!
Thank-you for all your good work Carlo.