Blanc in 2011
|Full name||Laurent Robert Blanc|
|Date of birth||19 November 1965|
|Place of birth||Alès, France|
|Height||1.92 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|Current club||Paris Saint-Germain (manager)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Laurent Robert Blanc (French pronunciation: [loʁɑ̃ blɑ̃]; born 19 November 1965) is a French football manager, former player and currently the manager of Paris Saint-Germain. He was the manager of the France national team until 2012, having replaced Raymond Domenech in the wake of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Blanc played professional football for numerous clubs, including Montpellier, Napoli, Barcelona, Marseille, Internazionale and Manchester United, often operating in the sweeper position. He is also a former French international, playing in several international tournaments, which include the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000, both of which France won. On 28 June 1998, Blanc scored the first golden goal in World Cup history against Paraguay. Blanc has the nickname Le Président, which was given to him following his stint at Marseille in tribute to his leadership skills.
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Managerial career
- 4 Controversy
- 5 Statistics
- 6 Honours
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Blanc was born in Alès, France. His career started in Montpellier, where he signed his first professional contract in 1983. A very technical player, he played as an attacking midfielder and helped the club get promoted to Division 1 in 1987. Only a few years later did he settle as a defender following the advice from Michel Mézy, a position in which his physical stature (1.91 m, 82 kg) and his temper would prove invaluable. His game being perfectly fitted for the French league, he managed to score at least 12 goals in every season at Montpellier, for the most part penalties and headers. He also won the Coupe de France in 1990, scoring a goal in the final match. Blanc became, and remains, Montpellier's all-time leading goal scorer, with 84 in all competitions (76 in league play).
In 1991, Blanc tried a first experience abroad when he left Montpellier for Napoli in the Italian Serie A. Despite a decent season during which he managed to score six goals, he felt like he could not fully express his potential and returned to France after just one year, to Nîmes and then Saint Étienne, where again he not only imposed himself as one of the best defenders in the league, but also scored 13 goals in his last season with the latter club. Saint-Étienne, however, were struggling at the time and was almost relegated, only staying up because Marseille were not allowed to return to the first division because of the club's financial difficulties. Guy Roux, impressed by Blanc and looking for a replacement for Dutch international Frank Verlaat, convinced him to join Auxerre in 1995. Despite injuring himself early in the season, Blanc came back strongly and played a great part in the team's double that year.
Blanc's performances on the pitch, emphasized by Auxerre's success, drew the attention of several big European clubs. He finally signed for Barcelona in Spain. That second abroad experience turned out not to be as successful as he could have hoped. Johan Cruyff, who had wanted Blanc and persuaded him to sign for Barça, was sacked on the very day Blanc agreed to join the club. Blanc won the Supercopa de España against Atlético Madrid, but injured himself quickly afterwards. He came back and played regularly but was sent off during the Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final against AIK, then injured himself again against Extremadura, which forced him to miss the Clásico and the Cup Winners' Cup final against Paris Saint-Germain. After this disappointing season and only one year away from the World Cup, he decided to leave.
Rolland Courbis managed to convince Blanc to join Marseille, which proved beneficial for both the club and Blanc. Blanc quickly became a leader in the team that was desperately lacking confidence, and helped Marseille finish an honorable fourth place in his first season, scoring 11 goals and earning the nickname Le Président (The President) in the process. The season following the World Cup was both successful and frustrating for Blanc and Marseille, as they finished runners-up in the championship, only one point shy of Bordeaux, and reached the UEFA Cup final, only to lose 3–0 to Parma, with Hernán Crespo intercepting Blanc's back pass to Stéphane Porato to score the opener. Afterwards, Blanc departed Marseille for Internazionale, where he enjoyed some success in defence, even winning the Pirata d'Oro (Inter Player of the Year) in 2000.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had attempted to lure Blanc several times since 1996 and finally succeeded in 2001. Despite his age of 35 years, Blanc was brought in to replace the departing Jaap Stam. He was criticised for poor performances in the early months of his stay at Old Trafford, compounded by United's five losses early in the 2001-02 season to Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea. He retired two years later, having helped the club to the 2002–03 Premier League crown. He scored four goals during his time at Manchester United. One of these came in the league against Tottenham Hotspur, and the other three all came in the Champions League in games against Olympiacos and Boavista (both home and away). During his time in Manchester, he was known by fans as "Larry White".
On 7 February 1989, he made his debut for the national team against Ireland. France, then in reconstruction after the retirement of numerous key players, did not manage to qualify for the 1990 World Cup. Shortly after that, they started an impressive 19-game unbeaten streak, including eight wins out of eight in Euro 1992 qualifying, making them one of the favorites to win the competition. They would, however, get knocked out in the pool stage by eventual winners Denmark.
After France failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, Laurent Blanc was heavily criticised, as well the rest of the team, and he subsequently decided to retire from international football. Aimé Jacquet, after taking over the managerial position of the national team, made it one of his priorities to convince Blanc to change his mind. Blanc returned to the team for the Euro 1996 qualification campaign and scored in a 4–0 win over Slovakia. At the tournament finals he formed a central defensive partnership with Marcel Desailly. Blanc scored France's opening goal in the final group match against Bulgaria in a 3–1 win to put the team into the quarter-finals where they faced the Netherlands at Anfield. Blanc scored France's winning penalty kick in the shootout after the match had ended 0–0. France then lost on penalty kicks at the semi-final stage after drawing 0–0 with the Czech Republic. However, Blanc again successfully converted his kick.
France then entered the 1998 World Cup, which was held on home soil. Blanc was exemplary during the competition and, on 28 June 1998, scored the first-ever golden goal in World Cup history against Paraguay in the round of 16. In the quarter-final, Blanc helped France to a clean sheet over Italy and scored the winning penalty as Les Bleus prevailed in the shootout. He missed the final after being sent off in the semi-final against Croatia for elbowing Slaven Bilić, although replays showed that Bilić had clearly feigned the injury, earning the Croat heavy criticism afterwards. The sending off was the first (and only) red card of Blanc's professional career. Despite Blanc's absence, France lifted the World Cup for the first time after defeating Brazil 3–0 at the Stade de France. The two goals conceded during the tournament by France was a new record for a World Cup winner. This record was matched by Italy in 2006 and Spain in 2010.
Blanc was also part of the team that won Euro 2000 during which, despite having been criticised for his age and lack of speed during the qualifications, he proved reliable in defence and even scored France's first goal of the tournament against Denmark in the group stage. He announced his retirement from international football after the competition, following the example of his captain Didier Deschamps. On 2 September 2000, Blanc, along with Deschamps and Bernard Lama, played his final match for Les Bleus in a friendly against England at the Stade de France.
Blanc was well known for kissing good friend and goalkeeper Fabien Barthez's head before the start of every match, supposedly for good luck (the two did repeat this ritual when they played together for Manchester United, but only for UEFA Champions League matches). The French national team was unbeaten in all matches when it fielded the World Cup and European Championship winning defence of Blanc, Desailly, Lilian Thuram and Bixente Lizarazu. Overall, Blanc recorded 97 caps and scored 16 goals. In 2006, the readers of France Football magazine voted him the fourth best French player of all time behind Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane, and Raymond Kopa.
On 8 June 2007, Blanc was named the new manager of Bordeaux, replacing Brazilian Ricardo. For his first season on the bench, he led the club to a second place in the league and won the Manager of the Year award. His second season was extremely successful, as Bordeaux won the final 11 games of the season, setting a new French record for consecutive wins, and clinched the league title, three points clear of Marseille, having already won the Coupe de la Ligue that year. Blanc was again nominated for Manager of the Year but lost to Marseille manager Eric Gerets.
On 16 May 2010, Blanc confirmed his departure from Bordeaux after three seasons in charge of the French outfit. After resigning from his position, Blanc contacted the French Football Federation to inquire about the France national team job, which was eventually vacated by Raymond Domenech following the 2010 World Cup. Later that day, FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes confirmed that Blanc was a candidate for the position. On 18 May 2010, with Blanc's appointment to the position becoming more probable, Bordeaux chairman Jean-Louis Triaud demanded compensation from the Federation. On 20 May 2010, the club reached an agreement with the FFF for €1.5 million. On 26 June, French media confirmed that Blanc had signed a two-year contract with the Federation to lead the team to UEFA Euro 2012. The deal was finalized a week later and Blanc was officially named as manager of the team on 2 July.
Blanc's first move as manager was to suspend all 23 players from the 2010 FIFA World Cup squad from his first game, as collective punishment for a number of negative incidents involving the squad, which had occurred during the course of the competition. He also reversed the policy on providing only halal meat at team lunches. On 11 August, in his first game as manager, France lost 2–1 to Norway at the Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo. However, Blanc's team soon managed to top their Euro 2012 qualifying group while also achieving friendly wins over England, Brazil and Germany. The first game of Euro 2012 was against England and ended in a 1–1 draw, after Samir Nasri scored to cancel out a goal scored by Joleon Lescott. France then went on to win their second game against Ukraine, thereby advancing to the quarter-finals despite losing to Sweden. France were eliminated in the quarter-finals after losing 2–0 to Spain. Blanc stepped down as manager of the national team on 30 June 2012.
Laurent Blanc was appointed manager of Paris Saint-Germain on 25 June 2013 shortly after Carlo Ancelotti left for Real Madrid.
On 28 April 2011, French investigative website Mediapart released a story which claimed that the French Football Federation had been attempting to secretly put in place a race-quota system in order to limit the number of dual-nationality players in its national academies. Quoting a senior figure in the FFF, the organization was said to have wanted to set a cap of 30% on the number of players of non-French origin by limiting places the academies in the 12–13 age bracket. On 29 April, Blanc, who, in the report, was claimed to have agreed with the decision to implement the quotas, held a personal press conference at the l'Hôtel Le Régent in Bordeaux, in which he also denied the report declaring that he had "not heard of such a project". On the following day, after Mediapart announced that it had a taped audio recording of the November 2010 meeting, Blanc released a statement on the FFF's website in which he apologized for possible offending comments he made during the meeting, while also declaring he was misquoted and denying he was racist stating "I do not withdraw the remarks I made yesterday. I admit that some terms used during a meeting on a sensitive subject can be ambiguous, out of context, and, if in my case, I've hurt some feelings, I apologize. But being suspected of racism or xenophobia, which I am against all forms of discrimination, I do not support it".
Former national team player Lilian Thuram said of the allegations, "Initially I thought this was a joke. I'm so stunned I don't know what to say", while Patrick Vieira declared that the comments Blanc allegedly made at the meeting were "serious and scandalous". Blanc was defended by several former players, most notably his 1998 FIFA World Cup-winning teammates Christophe Dugarry, Bixente Lizarazu, Didier Deschamps, Zinedine Zidane, Marcel Desailly, and Emmanuel Petit, current players, such as Alou Diarra, and external sources, which included Pathé Diba, the president of L’Association Soutien aux Handicapés Africains (English: Association to Support Disabled Africans). On 9 May, Blanc gave testimony at a hearing set up by the federation to investigate the quota matter. On 10 May, the results of the inquiry was revealed and Blanc was cleared of any wrongdoing by the French Football Federation.
On December 2013, Blanc dropped himself in hot water again after appearing to patronise a female journalist who asked him about tactics.
|Club||Season||League||Cup[nb 1]||Europe[nb 2]||Total|
|France national team|
- As of 14 December 2013.
|Bordeaux||8 June 2007||16 May 2010||150||90||28||32||248||153||+95||60.00|
|France||2 July 2010||30 June 2012||27||16||7||4||41||16||+25||59.26|
|Paris Saint-Germain||25 June 2013||Present||25||18||5||2||60||17||+43||72.00|
- Manchester United
- France U-21
- 1990 French Player of the Year
- 1996 UEFA Euro All-Star Team
- 1998 Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur
- 2000 Internazionale Player of the Year (Pirata d'oro)
- 2000 UEFA Euro All-Star Team
- 2004 Trophée d'honneur UNFP
- 2009 French Manager of the Year
- "Carlo Ancelotti confirmed as Madrid boss as Laurent Blanc takes over at PSG". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- "Laurent Blanc appointed new manager of France". BBC Sport. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
- "Blanc's Bordeaux rise to the occasion". UEFA. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- "Bordeaux hope this season is not Blanc’s last hurrah". The National. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- "Man Utd's amazing comeback". BBC Sport. 29 September 2001. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
- "Man Utd go through". BBC Sport. 23 October 2002. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
- "Man Utd stroll past Boavista". BBC Sport. 5 December 2001. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
- "Man Utd top group". BBC Sport. 19 March 2002. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
- Lichfield, John (6 May 2011). "In black and white: Blanc is on the brink". The Independent (London).
- "1988: France sweep to final glory". UEFA. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "England give France a fright". The Guardian. 3 September 2000. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Four of a kind for France". The Telegraph. 26 June 2000. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Joy as Bordeaux end 10-year French title wait". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
- "Accord Bordeaux-FFF pour Blanc". L'Equipe. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Laurent Blanc will leave Bordeaux to become France boss". BBC Sport. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Blanc, c'est signé!". L'Equipe. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
- "Laurent Blanc a signé deux ans". France Football. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
- France coach Laurent Blanc suspends all World Cup players USA Today, 23 July 2010
- "Laurent Blanc siffle la fin du halal". Europe 1. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Norway 2 – 1 France". ESPN Soccernet. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
- "Carlo Ancelotti appointed Real Madrid boss and Blanc joins PSG". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
- "French football body to investigate 'race quota' claim". BBC News. 30 April 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Blanc: "Des quotas? N'importe quoi !"" (in French). French Football Federation. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Communiqué de Laurent Blanc" (in French). French Football Federation. 30 April 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "France 1998 side split over Blanc's role in quota row". Reuters. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Deschamps: "Je souhaite que Blanc reste le plus longtemps possible"" (in French). RMC Sport. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Desailly: "Les propos de Blanc ont été déformés"" (in French). RMC Sport. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Zidane: "Ce serait fou que Blanc parte"" (in French). RMC Sport. 7 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Diba: "Blanc n’est pas raciste"" (in French). RMC Sport. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Laurent Blanc mocks female journalist with sexist question". inside World Soccer. 19 December 2013.
- Laurent Blanc career stats at Soccerbase
- Endlar, Andrew. "Laurent Blanc". The Website of Dreams. StretfordEnd.co.uk. Retrieved 27 November 2008.
- Blanc, Laurent at National-Football-Teams.com
- Laurent Blanc – International Appearances Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation, 23 August 2001
- "France honors World Cup winners – Government gives Legion of Honor to players, coaches". CNN/SI. 1 September 1998. Retrieved 20 July 2006.
- "Décret du 24 juillet 1998 portant nomination à titre exceptionnel". JORF 1998 (170): 11376. 25 July 1998. PREX9801916D. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- A CAMBIASSO IL "PIRATA D'ORO"[dead link] Inter.com (Italian)
- Profile at FFF.fr
- Profile at Soccerbase.com
- Laurent Blanc at Goal.com
- Laurent Blanc at Eurosport.com