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It is back to business for the champions today as Laurent Blanc will undertake his first training session as the coach of Paris Saint-Germain at Clairefontaine.
The likes of Jeremy Menez, Javier Pastore and Thiago Motta will report for training as other notable marquee names are given an extended break due to international commitments. Notably Thiago Silva who played in last night’s FIFA Confederations Cup Final.
Blanc will be under the prying eyes of the press as they are given the opportunity for some photo calls.
He has yet to complete his staff but Jean-Louis Gasset who he worked with at Bordeaux and with the French national team has been confirmed as his assistant. Claude Makelele should sign a two-year contract extension in the coming days and Fabian Barthez may be set to join as the new goalkeeping coach. So things are steadily falling into place under the new stewardship.
It is quite fitting for Blanc to be back at Clairefontaine. It was there where the groundwork was laid for Les Bleus to become champions of the world in 1998 followed up by the success in the European Championship in 2000. Then 10 years later he was back there as coach of the national team.
It is important for some of the sceptics in Paris to remember the achievements of the man both as a player and coach. His spell coaching the national team seems to be the focus of many (people believing it was an underwhelming tenure) rather than looking at what he did at Bordeaux by installing attractive football and subsequently making them champions. Not to mention the extensive knowledge he absorbed playing for the likes of Barcelona, Internazionale and Manchester United. His time at Marseille is a flaw in the eyes of many PSG supporters but they need to look past that. Blanc could turn out to be an extremely shrewd appointment who is more than capable of creating something special in the forthcoming campaign.
Just give him a chance!