Laurent Blanc

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Laurent Blanc
Laurent blanc 11 11 2013 reves de Clara.jpg
Blanc in 2013
Personal information
Full name Laurent Robert Blanc
Date of birth (1965-11-19) 19 November 1965 (age 50)
Place of birth Alès, France
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1981–1983 Montpellier
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1983–1991 Montpellier 243 (76)
1991–1992 Napoli 31 (6)
1992–1993 Nîmes 29 (1)
1993–1995 Saint-Étienne 70 (18)
1995–1996 Auxerre 23 (2)
1996–1997 Barcelona 28 (1)
1997–1999 Marseille 63 (14)
1999–2001 Internazionale 67 (6)
2001–2003 Manchester United 48 (1)
Total 602 (125)
National team
1989–2000 France 97 (16)
Teams managed
2007–2010 Bordeaux
2010–2012 France
2013–2016 Paris Saint-Germain

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.


Laurent Robert Blanc (French pronunciation: ​[loʁɑ̃ blɑ̃]; born 19 November 1965) is a French football manager and former player. He was most recently the manager of Paris Saint-Germain. He has the nickname Le Président, which was given to him following his stint at Marseille in tribute to his leadership skills.[1][2]

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, earning 97 caps and scoring 16 international goals. He represented the country in several international tournaments, including 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.

He began his managerial career at Bordeaux in 2007, winning domestic honours including the 2008–09 Ligue 1 title. After leaving Bordeaux in 2010 he became the manager of the French national team until 2012, replacing Raymond Domenech in the wake of the 2010 World Cup[3] and leading the country to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012. In 2013, he was hired by Paris Saint-Germain, winning further honours. After 3 successful years with Paris Saint-Germain he left the club in June 2016.

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Blanc was born in Alès, France. His career started at Montpellier, where he signed his first professional contract in 1983. A very technical, yet slow 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 temperament 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 remains Montpellier's all-time leading goal scorer, with 84 in all competitions (76 in league play).

In 1991, Blanc tried his luck 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 imposed himself as one of the best defenders in the league. Although Blanc scored 13 goals in his last season at Saint-Étienne, les Verts were 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.

Barcelona[edit]

Blanc's success at Auxerre drew the attention of several big European clubs. Blanc agreed to join Barcelona in Spain largely because manager Johan Cruyff wanted him and persuaded him to sign. But on the very day that Blanc said yes to Barça, Cruyff was sacked, and Blanc's spell with the club was a less than happy one. Blanc was in the side when Barcelona won the Supercopa de España against Atlético Madrid, but was injured soon afterwards. He played regularly upon his return from injury, but was sent off during the Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final against AIK. He 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 1998 World Cup, he decided to leave.

"Le Président"[edit]

Rolland Courbis managed to convince Blanc to join Marseille, which proved beneficial for both the club and Blanc. Blanc quickly became a leader in a team that was desperately lacking confidence, and helped Marseille finish an honourable fourth place in his first season, during which he scored 11 goals and earned the nickname "Le Président" ("The President"). 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 left Marseille for Internazionale, where he enjoyed some success, winning the Pirata d'Oro (Inter Player of the Year) in 2000.

Manchester United[edit]

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had attempted to lure Blanc several times since 1996 and finally succeeded in 2001 when, at 35 years of age, 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, when United suffered five losses to Bolton Wanderers, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle United and Chelsea respectively (the first letters of each club name, when rearranged, spell "B.L.A.N.C."). 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,[4] and the other three all came in the Champions League in games against Olympiacos[5] and Boavista (both home[6] and away).[7] Blanc retired from football at the end of his time with the club.[8]

International career[edit]

Blanc won the 1988 European Under-21 Championship, beating Greece in the final. He was named the tournament's Golden Player by UEFA.[9]

On 7 February 1989, Blanc made his debut for the senior national team against the Republic of 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, 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.[10]

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 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.[11] Overall, Blanc recorded 97 caps and scored 16 goals. In 1999, the readers of France Football magazine voted him the fourth-best French player of all time, behind Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane and Raymond Kopa.

Managerial career[edit]

Bordeaux[edit]

Blanc during his time with Bordeaux

On 8 June 2007, Blanc was named the new manager of Bordeaux, replacing Brazilian Ricardo Gomes. For his first season on the bench, he led the club to second place in Ligue 1 and won the Manager of the Year award. His second Ligue 1 season was extremely successful. Bordeaux won the final 11 league matches of the 2008–09 Ligue 1 season, setting a new French record for consecutive wins,[12] to clinch the Ligue 1 title three points clear of Olympique de Marseille. Bordeaux also won the 2008-2009 Coupe de la Ligue. Blanc was again nominated for Manager of the Year but lost to Marseille manager Eric Gerets.

In the 2009–10 Champions League campaign, Blanc's Bordeaux topped a group featuring Juventus and Bayern Munich without losing a match.[13] After defeating Olympiacos in the Round of 16, they were eliminated by fellow French side Lyon in the quarter-finals.

France[edit]

Blanc managing France at UEFA Euro 2012

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 (FFF) to inquire about the French 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.[14][15] On 26 June, French media confirmed that Blanc had signed a two-year contract with the Federation to lead the team to Euro 2012. The deal was finalized a week later and Blanc was officially named as manager of the team on 2 July.[16][17]

As he took charge of France, the Federation had decided to suspend all 23 players who took part in the South African World Cup, much to Blanc's regret.[18] On 11 August, in his first game as manager, France lost 2–1 to Norway at the Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo.[19] 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 eventual champion Spain. Blanc stepped down as manager of the national team on 30 June 2012.[20]

Paris Saint-Germain[edit]

Blanc at PSG's December 2013 training camp in Doha, Qatar

Blanc was appointed manager of Paris Saint-Germain on 25 June 2013 shortly after previous manager Carlo Ancelotti left for Real Madrid.[21] On 3 August, Blanc won his first trophy with the club, the 2013 Trophée des Champions, defeating Bordeaux 2–1 in the Stade d'Angondjé in Libreville, Gabon, coming from behind with late goals from Hervin Ongenda and Alex.[22] A second item of silverware was won on 19 April 2014, as two goals from Edinson Cavani defeated Lyon 2–1 in the 2014 Coupe de la Ligue Final.[23] PSG's European campaign ended in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with elimination by Chelsea on away goals.[24] On 7 May, after nearest rivals Monaco drew with Guingamp, PSG won the league, despite losing to Rennes later that day in the match in which they celebrated their triumph.[25] The following day, Blanc was given a one-year contract extension to 2016, with club President Nasser Al-Khelaifi saying, "We are very happy with his results this season, as well as the very attractive football the team has played. We are convinced we will win a lot more trophies together."[26]

Blanc's second season in charge began with victory in the 2014 Trophée des Champions against Guingamp at the Workers' Stadium in Beijing.[27] On 11 April 2015, PSG retained the Coupe de la Ligue with a victory over Bastia in the final, with Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimović scoring two goals each in a 4-0 victory.[28]PSG won the Ligue 1 title for the third consecutive year on 16 May 2015 with a 2–1 victory at Montpellier.[29] On 11 February 2016, Blanc signed a two-year contract extension.[30] PSG reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the fourth consecutive year after dispatching Chelsea in the round of 16, but lost to Manchester City in the quarter-finals. On 21 May 2016, PSG defeated Olympique de Marseille 4–2 in the 2016 Coupe de France final. PSG thus won the Ligue 1-Coupe de France-Coupe de la Ligue domestic treble for the second consecutive season and equalled Olympique de Marseille's all-time record of 10 Coupe de France titles. On 27 June 2016, PSG announced that Blanc and assistant coach Jean-Louis Gasset had resigned from the club, stating that Blanc had "left a significant mark on the great history of Paris Saint-Germain”. The club's president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, added, “As we embark on a new chapter in the development of the club, I would like to thank Laurent Blanc for everything he has achieved over the last three years, both in terms of the playing style and results.[31]

Statistics[edit]

Player[edit]

[32][33]

Club Season League Cup[nb 1] Europe[nb 2] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Montpellier 1983–84 15 0 15 0
1984–85 32 5 32 5
1985–86 29 6 29 6
1986–87 34 18 34 18
1987–88 24 6 24 6
1988–89 35 15 2 0 37 15
1989–90 36 12 36 12
1990–91 38 14 6 1 44 15
Total 243 76 0 0 8 1 251 77
Napoli 1991–92 31 6 31 6
Nîmes 1992–93 29 1 29 1
Saint-Étienne 1993–94 33 5 33 5
1994–95 37 13 37 13
Total 70 18 0 0 0 0 70 18
Auxerre 1995–96 23 2 23 2
Barcelona 1996–97 28 1 5 0 5 0 38 1
Marseille 1997–98 31 11 31 11
1998–99 32 3 10 1 42 4
Total 63 14 0 0 10 1 73 15
Internazionale 1999–2000 34 3 7 0 41 3
2000–01 33 3 9 0 42 3
Total 67 6 7 0 9 0 83 6
Manchester United 2001–02 29 1 2 0 15 2 46 3
2002–03 19 0 1 0 9 1 29 1
Total 48 1 3 0 24 3 75 4
Career totals 602 125 15 0 56 5 673 130

International[edit]

[34][35]

France national team
Year Apps Goals
1989 6 1
1990 7 1
1991 6 2
1992 8 0
1993 8 3
1994 7 0
1995 4 1
1996 10 3
1997 7 0
1998 13 3
1999 9 0
2000 12 2
Total 97 16

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 27 June 2016
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Bordeaux France 8 June 2007 16 May 2010 150 90 28 32 248 153 +95 60.00
France France 2 July 2010 30 June 2012 27 16 7 4 41 16 +25 59.26
Paris Saint-Germain France 25 June 2013 27 June 2016 172 126 31 15 390 126 +264 73.26
Total 349 232 66 51 679 295 +384 66.48

Honours[edit]

Player[edit]

Club[edit]

Montpellier
Auxerre
Barcelona
Manchester United

International[edit]

France
France U-21

Individual[edit]

Manager[edit]

Bordeaux
Paris Saint-Germain

Individual[edit]

Orders[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Includes League Cup, Supercoppa Italiana
  2. ^ Includes UEFA Champions League, Intercontinental Cup

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Blanc's Bordeaux rise to the occasion". UEFA. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "Bordeaux hope this season is not Blanc’s last hurrah". The National. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "Laurent Blanc appointed new manager of France". BBC Sport. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010. 
  4. ^ "Man Utd's amazing comeback". BBC Sport. 29 September 2001. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  5. ^ "Man Utd go through". BBC Sport. 23 October 2002. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  6. ^ "Man Utd stroll past Boavista". BBC Sport. 5 December 2001. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  7. ^ "Man Utd top group". BBC Sport. 19 March 2002. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  8. ^ Lichfield, John (6 May 2011). "In black and white: Blanc is on the brink". The Independent (London). 
  9. ^ "1988: France sweep to final glory". UEFA. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "England give France a fright". The Guardian. 3 September 2000. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  11. ^ Smith, Alan (26 June 2000). "Four of a kind for France". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "Joy as Bordeaux end 10-year French title wait". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 31 May 2009. 
  13. ^ "UEFA Champions League - 2010 standings". UEFA. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "Accord Bordeaux-FFF pour Blanc". L'Equipe. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  15. ^ "Laurent Blanc will leave Bordeaux to become France boss". BBC Sport. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  16. ^ "Blanc, c'est signé!". L'Equipe. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  17. ^ "Laurent Blanc a signé deux ans". France Football. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  18. ^ http://www.lemonde.fr/sport/article/2010/08/18/laurent-blanc-victime-collaterale-des-sanctions-de-la-fff_1400263_3242.html
  19. ^ "Norway 2 – 1 France". ESPN Soccernet. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  20. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18659024
  21. ^ "Carlo Ancelotti appointed Real Madrid boss and Blanc joins PSG". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  22. ^ "Blanc wins first trophy with PSG". ESPN. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  23. ^ "Paris St-Germain v Lyon as it happened". Sky Sports News. 19 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  24. ^ McNulty, Phil (8 April 2014). "Chelsea 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  25. ^ "Paris St. Germain 1-2 Rennes". BBC Sport. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  26. ^ "Laurent Blanc: Paris St-Germain coach signs new deal". BBC Sport. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  27. ^ "Paris Saint-Germain beat Guingamp to win the Trophee des Champions". Sky Sports News. 2 August 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  28. ^ "PSG punish Bastia to retain Coupe de la Ligue". FIFA. Agence France-Presse. 11 April 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  29. ^ "Montpellier 1-2 Paris St G". BBC Sport. 17 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  30. ^ http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11820/10162834/paris-saint-germain-coach-laurent-blanc-extends-contract
  31. ^ "PSG part company with manager Laurent Blanc". The Guardian. 27 June 2016. 
  32. ^ Laurent Blanc career statistics at Soccerbase
  33. ^ Endlar, Andrew. "Laurent Blanc". StretfordEnd.co.uk. Retrieved 27 November 2008. 
  34. ^ Blanc, Laurent at National-Football-Teams.com
  35. ^ Laurent Blanc – International Appearances Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation, 23 August 2001
  36. ^ A CAMBIASSO IL "PIRATA D'ORO" Inter.com (Italian) Archived 5 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ "France honors World Cup winners – Government gives Legion of Honor to players, coaches". CNN/SI. 1 September 1998. Retrieved 20 July 2006. 
  38. ^ "Décret du 24 juillet 1998 portant nomination à titre exceptionnel". JORF 1998 (170): 11376. 25 July 1998. PREX9801916D. Retrieved 10 March 2009. 

External links[edit]