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Arguably the biggest football club on the planet presented Carlo Ancelotti to the world yesterday as their new head coach. Clearly a realisation of a dream for ‘Carletto’ who had envisaged that day for quite a while now, taking the helm of the nine time European Cup winners. But, from a Parisien perspective there is a feeling of ‘what if’ had Los Blancos not come calling. Ancelotti culminated his good work with a league title and put us on the fringes of a Champions League semi-final. Had he stayed, what may we have achieved?
It is important now for him and Paris Saint-Germain to look to the future but there is of course a sombre feeling from those affiliated to the club that the Italian will not be continuing the incredible work he had done in Paris. He led us to a first league title in 19-years and played a brand of football that was exhilarating at times. Sure, it was not always pretty and some of the performances away from home in the league were borderline average but more often than not, three points were obtained. He has installed a winning mentality back into the football club, something that was missing since those heady days in the nineties. He leaves us in a position to go further under the influence of a young coach looking to prolong the good work his predecessor has and keep it ticking over. The club is in a wonderful position. More prosperity is only around the corner as long as Laurent Blanc is not undermined by incessant rumours regarding Arsene Wenger and is allowed to undertake his responsibility with now qualms.
That is one thing Ancelotti – although he will not admit it publically – was not content with in the slightest. He felt undermined by the club at times, particularly by the influence of Leonardo in team affairs. Carlo is a strong personality and a man of principal. He was hurt by not being allowed to perform his duties as a coach to the maximum as certain people in the club’s hierarchy felt the need to get too heavily involved. Even so, had Madrid not been touting for him, those circumstances – in my opinion – would not have prised him away from Paris. He clearly loved his time there and it was wonderful to have him at the football club. He brought so much – not just in terms of his knowledge – but his persona was of great benefit to football in France. His fellow peers had nothing but good things to say about him and the respect he has obtained from them is enormous.
Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier, who was named joint UNFP Coach of the Year along with Ancelotti said in May; “It’s a shame for French football, it would be a shame for the French coaches, especially young people like me. If we can bring in the best coaches, we must be guided by the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, in terms of communication, behaviour and management. He is attractive to a club like Real Madrid, we can understand that.”
He is absolutely right and that is why a club of the magnitude of Madrid wanted him. No one will begrudge Carlo for leaving. His time at PSG was short but it was oh so sweet. He will be sorely missed but a new dawn awaits under the influence of a World champion in Monsieur Blanc.