PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti says the club wants to rival Barcelona and Real Madrid
The Italian says the club's Qatari owners want to make PSG one of Europe's top clubs
Ancelotti confident PSG can recruit top players after failing to land Beckham and Tevez
Former AC Milan coach glad to be reunited with his former player Leonardo
Paris Saint-Germain’s list of honors are modest compared to the achievements of Europe’s top football clubs, but what the French side lacks in history is made up for in ambition.
Since being taken over by Qatar Sports Investments in May 2011, significant steps have been taken, on and off the pitch, to make sure PSG can challenge for major titles – and new manager Carlo Ancelotti is under no illusions about what is expected of him.
“This club does not have a big history like Milan, like other clubs like Manchester United, like Real Madrid, like Barcelona,” the 52-year-old, who replaced Antoine Kombouare in December, told CNN. “The aim is to reach that kind of level.”
Formed in 1970 as a merger between Paris FC and Stade Saint-Germain, PSG’s last Ligue 1 crown – and only second overall – came in 1994.
That was followed two years later by a European Cup Winners’ Cup triumph but, added to a collection of domestic knockout competition trophies, the haul falls well short of what new PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi expects.
“His objective is very clear,” the former Chelsea manager said. “To build a good image of the club, to build one of the top clubs in Europe.
“He wants my experience, my knowledge to help the club and the team to improve quickly. He has a fantastic passion for football and he knows everything.”
PSG’s spending spree so far includes the signing of Argentina playmaker Javier Pastore for a record French transfer fee. The club targeted superstar David Beckham and Argentina forward Carlos Tevez in December and January but both players ended up staying at their respective teams, Los Angeles Galaxy and Manchester City.
Milan striker Alexandre Pato was another to turn down PSG’s advances, but he and fellow Brazil star Kaka of Real Madrid may yet move to Paris when the transfer window reopens in July.
“In the summer I think the market will be more open,” Ancelotti said. “We will have more possibilities as compared to January but I think all the players can come.
“The club tried to reach an agreement with Beckham but I was not here. I was not involved in this thing and I think they were very close; Beckham (said he might) come here but at the end decided to stay in Los Angeles to play with Galaxy.
“Tevez was a different thing because Tevez’s first choice was Milan, but he had a problem with Milan. The second choice was PSG but we didn’t find an agreement economical with him and we were not able to buy for this reason.”
Ancelotti’s appointment at PSG has also seen him reunited with Leonardo, who he managed in two separate spells at Milan. Leonardo also spent time working above Ancelotti at the San Siro after being appointed Milan’s technical director in 2008.
“I have a good experience because he was my player in Milan and he was my boss in Milan at the same time. So I have a very good relationship,” the former Italy international said.
“But I think that one of the reasons I am here is because Leonardo knows me very well and knows what kind of a job I can do, so I think when we met for the first time I think we were agreed on everything.”