PARIS/MADRID: Another coach switch saga has been resolved with Paris Saint-Germain appointing Laurent Blanc and clearing the way for Carlo Ancelotti to take over immediately at Real Madrid.
Blanc, who guided Bordeaux to league success in 2009 then managed France at Euro 2012, has signed a two-year contract with the Qatari-owned club; meanwhile Ancelotti is expected to be ‘presented’ to the media in Madrid tomorrow.
Blanc, who played for Montpellier, Marseille, Manchester United, Barcelona and Internazionale, was a key member ofFrance’s World Cup-winning and Euro-winning squads in 1998 and 2000.
Ancelotti, having won league titles in Italy, England and France, has agreed a three-year contract with Madrid where he succeeds Chelsea-bound Jose Mourinho.
Spanish media have reported that Real will pay PSG E4m in compensation for the one-year extension triggered by the club’s French league title success.
Ancelotti will offer a significant culture change at Madrid after a tempestuous three years under Mourinho. They reached the Champions League semi-finals in all his three seasons but ended last season without major silverware and finished 15 points behind Barcelona in the league.
Ancelotti’s major challenge will be to succeed where Mourinho failed and secure the long-awaited and record-extending ‘Decima’ – a 10th European Champions trophy.
President Florentino Perez is confident Ancelotti will continue to have superstar top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo as his major attacking weapon.
Perez said earlier this week that he not only expected Ronaldo to extend a contract which runs until 2016 but that he would see out the rest of his career at the Estadio Bernabeu.
“I expect the issue to be resolved very shortly,” said Perez. “All the details will be sorted before the start of the new season.”
Jose Antonio Camacho, one-time Real Madrid defender, has been sacked as national manager of China. His two-year spell, which included World Cup qualifying failure, was ended after a disastrous series of three home friendly defeats, including a 5-1 thrashing by Thailand.
Slavisa Stojanovic, former Slovenia manager, has replaced Ricardo Sa Pinto at Red Star Belgrade. They last won the Serb league in 2007 while old rivals Partizan have carried off the last six titles in a row and equalled their record of 25.
Hong Myung-bo, captain of South Koreawhen they reached the 2002 World Cup semi-finals, has been appointed national coach. He succeeds Choi Kang-hee who resigned last week after guiding the Reds to their eighth consecutive World Cup finals appearance.
Last year Hong led South Koreato a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in London.
** Ethiopia’s football federation has dismissed Ashenafi Ejigu as general secretary, making him a scapegoat for the blunder of fielding an ineligible player – suspended midfielder Minyahile Beyene – against Botswana on June 8 in a World Cup qualifier.
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